Saturday, September 14, 2013

This ad/announcement appeared in the September 12, 2013 issue of the Lake Worth Herald

Loretta Sharpe asked that I post it on the blog.

Madison, Melrose and Milton: Florida Old Towns

This is what I think of when I hear the words "old Florida charm." If you click the title of this post, it will take you to a website called "Florida Backroads Travel." There are probably a lot of neat weekend trip ideas to check out in the Sunshine State. By the way, there is a group getting together soon to talk about Lake Worth's cottages and how better to highlight them in an organized manner.

Governor sets goal of 100 million visitors to Florida | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

And Commissioner McVoy wants us to throw in the towel and not try for a downtown hotel in Lake Worth. He says that if the market indicated there was a need for one, there would be one. If there was a market for a men's pants store, there would be none of those too. Our leaders should not have defeatist attitudes. Click title for link to article. Here are a few statistics from it.
Florida visitors and how much they spent
2013 49.6 million (mid-year)
2012 91.5 million ………………. $71.8 billion
2011 87.3 million ………………. $67.2 billion
2010 82.3 million ………………. $62.7 billion
2009 80.9 million ……………… $60.9 billion
2008 84.2 million ……………… $65.2 billion
2007 84.5 million ………………. $65.5 billion
2006 83.9 million ………………. $65.0 billion
2005 83.6 million ………………. $62.0 billion
2004 79.7 million ……………….. $57.1 billion
Source: Visit Florida
Florida visitors
Cities with biggest increase last year:
17% from Washington D.C.
22% from Atlanta
35% from Boston
20% from New York (top market)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Under Lake Worth budget proposal, utility rates could drop 4.5... | www.palmbeachpost.com

Good article and it seems that this City Commission is on the right track. Click title for link. Commissioner McVoy continues to be a stick-in-the-muck.
From the article:
Three of the four commissioners OK’d the change, while Commissioner Christopher McVoy voted against it saying that the better strategy was to educate customers to reduce their usage. Commissioner John Szerdi was not present.
“They haven’t been saying lower my rates; they’ve been saying lower my bills,” McVoy said.
That is very scientific Dr. McVoy. I can see why you are Peter Timm's and Lynn Anderson's favorite. Trying to get on your logic train here Commissioner. Let's say you have three numbers which are A, B and C. And A is the rate per unit of electricity, B is the number of units consumed and C is your total bill which is achieved by multiplying A times B. If either A or B is lower, you will have lower electric bills. And then you vote "NO" on lowering rates? I think this exposes your "high rates reduce consumption" mantra and the reason why you like them. Also notice that there is $750,000 sloshing around in the former conservation program account.

People are not going to use more electricity if it is cheaper but they are going to like lower bills created by lowering rates. This will free up money for other essentials - like housing, transportation, food and health care. And maybe allow our residents to treat themselves to an ice cream cone in our downtown.

Another video flyover - this one of Lake Avenue in downtown Lake Worth


Courtesy James Stafford Photography

Wellington levee repairs to begin as flood maps under review | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

I'll bring this up during my chat with Lynne McChristian of the Insurance Information Institute on today's High Noon in Lake Worth radio show. Click title for link. From the article:
If the levee is not accredited, FEMA — which oversees the federal flood insurance program — will evaluate flood potential for property near the levee as if the levee does not existed at all.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pan’s Garden in USA Today Travel’s 10 best Palm Beach County parks and attractions

The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is proud to announce that our Pan’s Garden has been listed by USA Today Travel as among the ten best parks and attractions in Palm Beach County.

The article states, “Not far from the sophistication and bustle of Worth Avenue, this lovely park offers a taste of natural beauty. The plants in the half-acre site are all native to Florida and provide a gorgeous example of the diversity of flora in the state. Butterflies often flutter about the plantings, adding additional color and movement. The garden itself is named after an exquisite bronze of Pan, the nature deity known for his physical license and flute-playing. It rests at the entrance to the garden.”


Pan’s Garden is about to hit its 20th anniversary in 2014. Established in 1994 by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, Pan’s Garden is a beautiful botanical garden devoted to preserving Florida’s native plants.  The garden features over 300 species of trees, shrubs, grasses and wild flowers, which are incorporated into upland and wetland areas designed to display their naturally occurring relationships to one another.  Many of the Foundation’s educational programs for Palm Beach County’s schools are held there.  It was designed by the landscape firm of Sanchez and Maddux.

Pan’s Garden is located at 386 Hibiscus Avenue, just one block north of Worth Avenue.  Excluding holidays, it is open year round on Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm during the months of November to April.

Alexander C. Ives
Executive Director
Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach

These signs are now going up in the Cultural Plaza...

An alert loyal reader forwarded this to me this morning as they were being installed.

It's not too soon to revisit 2011 growth law changes, state's first planning chief says | The Florida Current

Don't look for the state legislature to provide much guidance on the state's role in planning. Providing a working definition of what the Office of Economic Opportunity - the one that replaced the Department of Community Affairs - actually is protecting by referring to ""important state resources and facilities." The current, revised legislation limits their purview to that, but no one seems to know exactly what those would be. Click title for link.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Giving credit where and when it is due...

Many times, the weakest link to the electric grid can be your house's connection to the pole found along your back property line. Mine was destroyed by Wilma in 2005 and created a delay in eventually getting power back on. I had to wait after my neighborhood already had power for a few days. Involved was an electrician, a trip to an Orlando-area Home Depot for electrical supplies (the closest "open" Home Depot in Ft. Pierce was overrun with customers and victims of the storm).

So, about a month ago I contracted with an electrician to place the feed to the house underground. Bill ended up doing the trenching work. The permit was issued by the city, conduit installed and box modified and inspected by the city. Yesterday was the final step when the city utility trucks arrived and the city workers went about disconnecting the overhead line. The electricians then installed the new wire in the conduit and the city reconnected the house to the power pole. All this was done yesterday morning after being called in on Monday. Power was on and off for only a half hour at most.

I just want to thank everybody involved at the city for making the process as painless as possible, acting professionally and quickly and helping to eliminate a weak point that can easily be impacted by wind, trees and debris in the case of a storm event.

Countywide construction picking up steam, says land planner | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

This is a good summary of what is happening around us related to economic and development activity. Click title for link. I am told that Lake Worth can expect $32 million of new development added to the tax roll this year. This is the part of the article which focuses on projects in the central and southern parts of Palm Beach County.
Examples of growth in central and south county are Trader Joe’s in Delray Beach, the proposed Chapel by the Sea condominiums in West Palm Beach and the future development of the A.G. Holley hospital site in Lantana, Gentile said at the Cohen Pavilion at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
Boca Raton’s Midtown, an office/retail development at Glades Road and I-95, and Jupiter’s $150 million Harbourside retail/marina/hotel project at Indiantown Road and U.S. 1 are meeting the need for existing office space, said Rebel Cook, a Realtor.
“If governments would speed up permitting, tax dollars would be coming in quicker,” said Cook.

Lynne McChristian - Insurance Information Institute 09/13 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Lynne McChristian to the "High Noon in Lake Worth" studios. Ms. McChristian is part of the Insurance Information Institute.  This will be good follow-up on the insurance industry in Florida after our two hurricane-related shows. We will also be discussing the impact of the newly revised flood maps.
Ms. McChristian is the Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I), a nonprofit and non-lobbying organization based in New York and founded by the insurance industry in 1960 to provide insurance education. The Institute’s mission is to help consumers understand what insurance is and how it works and to be a resource for media as they report on the insurance industry. She is also the chairperson for the insurance committee of the National Hurricane Conference and serves on the advisory board for Florida State University’s Storm Risk Center. She also serves on the public affairs committee of the Property Insurance Fraud Task Force.
Click title for link to live show between 12 and 1 p.m. Friday (9/13) or for archived show after it airs. Leave questions as comments below.

Not for the faint of heart, but this is a real problem-solving product...

Perhaps it would help Jennifer with her problem at parties?
At the CRA work session on Dixie Hwy, board member Sue Stevens brought up the importance of clean public restrooms. Perhaps this is the ticket!

Discover The Palm Beaches: What was old is new again as travel... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

And the answer is - a new visitors' bureau slogan. It ends up being a variation on a theme. Click title for link to article. Here is what was, what was chosen and what was discarded.
Destination name
Is: Palm Beach County Florida
Would be: Discover The Palm Beaches Florida
Tagline
Is: The Best of Everything
Would be: The Best of Everything or The Best Way to Experience Florida
Organization name
Is: Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Would be: Discover Palm Beach County
What was rejected:
Florida’s Resort
Life Well Lived
Florida Unsurpassed

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kurt Vonnegut

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."

Day's fishing, Palm Beach, Florida, 1894 - William Henry Jackson


Click here and check out how the City of Los Angeles moves to appreciate the L.A. River...

This is a 32 mile river that has not been treated kindly as it currently exists within the metropolis that is Los Angeles. It reminds me of our little bit less ambitious talk about not turning our local communities' backs to the C-51 canal. Thanks for a reader who left a comment which directed me to the L.A. River website.

A Ghost Of The Subprime Market Rises In Flint - Architizer

A temporary art installation/pavilion stands in honor of homes lost during the Great Recession in Flint, Michigan. Maybe we can get it next as part of a traveling exhibit?  Here is a bit from the article. Click title for link.
As a way of relating Flint's story to other places, the architects fitted the underside of the canopy with light boxes and filled them with photos that Kickstarter supporters sent in from all over the world. "When people go into this podium and look up, they will be able to see all these pieces of a collective memory," says Villalobos. More than 800 submissions from across Europe, Asia, and the Americas no doubt allude to other crises—Greece, Spain, Ireland?—with a healthy dose of adorable dog photos thrown in, we are sure of it.

Lake Worth artist captures 9/11 aftermath through painting | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Check out this Michigan-based artist in Bruce Webber's Gallery. Click title for link. From the article:
The completed paintings were unveiled on the first anniversary of 9/11 and now hang in the Pentagon. Copies of the paintings are displayed at the Bruce Webber Gallery in Lake Worth.
The originals are among 20 pieces of art Herter has created through the AFAP, which was created in 1950 in an effort to record Air Force history and activities through art.
The program, based in New York City, lets an elite group of artists travel with the Air Force to locations throughout the world to witness military facilities and exercises, then document those events through art.

Where the sidewalk ends, chalk art begins - CNN.com

Lake Worth Street Painting festival featured on CNN - along with others from around the world. Click title for link. We were lucky to get the first picture on the slide show. Here is what it says about our festival:
Street Painting Festival, Lake Worth, Florida
February 22 and 23, 2014
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014, this festival is known as an incubator for emerging artists and a showcase for outstanding local artists, such as Michael Las Casas and Jeanie Burns, who have gained international reputations.
About 400 artists -- from children and amateurs to professionals -- will participate this year, creating 200 works of art.

Everglades Water Flow Plugged up by Bureaucratic Challenges | Sunshine State News

Read this completely. Click title for link. It has a name: Modified Water Deliveries Project. It is likely to deliver nothing. We are at the mercy of people who are satisfied with the status quo. Sound familiar?

Rabies discovery in kitten prompts order to trap, euthanize... | www.palmbeachpost.com

If you attended, listened or watched the last City Commission meeting, you were treated to Dustin Zacks' repeated comments and remarks of how important it was to "get rid of cats." I am not exactly sure how strongly Mr. Zacks felt about the matter, but he did send me this link today so we might want to at least consider being careful when approaching wild or feral cats, of which there are a lot of in Lake Worth. Scary map which accompanies the article, click title for link. It shows that Palm Beach County is leading the state of Florida in the number of rabies cases this year.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Aerial views of the C-51 canal, the S-155 Control Structure, Dixie Hwy and the FEC railway...

Courtesy James Stafford Photography

A new path to ocean for central Palm Beach County boaters west... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Remember these pictures I showed you recently looking from the industrial area north of 22nd Avenue/Worthmore. This is the area being discussed in the article - click title for link - as a place for boat access from west of here to the Intracoastal. We also heard this prospect from Commissioner Materio of West Palm Beach at the last CRA meeting.
Think of the possibilities. I'm excited about the prospect, but some heavy lifting will be involved in terms of bureaucracy, not to mention water and boats.

A view from the bike course yesterday, with some Stravinsky and Dvorak for good measure...


Check out video from the heart of the bike course as part of the Lake Worth Tropical Triathlon. There are two videos in this playlist. Both are taken from the intersection of Federal Hwy. and Lucerne Avenue. The first one is a view looking southeast and shows the intersection where the first right turn on the course happens. You see the bikes make the turn north on Federal Hwy. Later on, you can see bicyclists turn right on Lucerne and head west through the downtown. They then turned left on J Street and then headed east on Lake Avenue, where they turned right to head south on Federal Hwy. Later on in the first video, you can see the leaders make their way on the second loop north on Federal, while we still see others make the first right turn and the turn into the downtown.

In the second video, the view is from the same location looking north along Federal and you can see bicyclists making their way north and merging with other athletes that are still coming from the bridge. You can also see the participants on their way to make the right turn on to Lucerne. And, yes, that is yours truly directing the bicyclists to "Slow down, everybody turns right, stay to the right..." and on and on. We had more people south of the intersection at Lake and Federal where bikes had to split off to the left if they were completing their first loop and to the right to head back to the beach if it was their second loop. The total length of the bike course was 13 miles.

All this couldn't have been accomplished without a good representation of PBSO officers and vehicles and a large contingent of volunteers. I am pleased to report that even with all the complications present in the course, there were no major mishaps on the bike course. The only one that I can recall was an instance where a regular non-contestant on a bike crossed Federal at the wrong time and hit a bike that was part of the race. That caused a delay for the rider involved, but she was able to continue through the event.

Infographic: How 10 Historical Planners Have Shaped Today’s Cities | This Big City

For those who don't know much about the history of planning and the role certain individuals have had in the way our cities look and function, you will want to check out this cool infographic that identifies ten of the major players over time. Click title for link.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities."

Lake Worth works to improve utility billing, stem money losses | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Cue the violins. I scarcely know where to start. Click title for link to an article about the sorry state of our billing and metering system for utilities. This is not a new issue but it seems that we are finally getting to the bottom of some things here in Lake Worth. Click title for link. It turns out back in 2012, an outside consultant was brought in to review the utilities' "efficiency." 

You really need to read the whole article. I couldn't find a snippet that was more important than another. Suffice to say the utility is hemorrhaging $1 million a year and this has gone on for years. Residents knew there must be something wrong as I witnessed neighbors comparing their bills and seeing widely disparate amounts compared to what were essentially the same houses with the same sort of electric appliances. Meters that can be 60 years old shoulder part of the blame. And, apparently, the rich and poor around here get very ingenious in stealing power, which is now a punishable crime.

Given the history of institutional ineptitude, how can people rightly assert that the city can and should continue in the electric utility business? Apparently, we have trouble accounting for the most basic operations. Why do we need the continued headache and pay more for electric than what everyone else is paying on top of the operational inefficiencies? The one sliver of a silver lining is that our reliability has improved. This is the most positive revelation from the article:
Then there’s that pesky reliability issue, but there has been progress on that front, too.
“Three years ago, we were one of the worst for overall reliability,” said Lindstrom. “Now we’re in the top 10.”
And my response to this statement is another question: "Who else is in the top ten for overall reliability?" I would venture to say that FPL is in that group. So, again, why are we running our own electric utility? What public purpose does it serve?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Time Lapse of the Tropical Triathlon today...


Jim says to make sure to watch this in HD - click on the HD symbol on embedded player.

With all this talk about hotels...

Crews demolish wrong house after Michigan man swaps numbers for next door | Mail Online

You might find this interesting even without a Lake Worth connection. But there is one, not talked about in the article. It turns out that part of the problem with enforcing our codes related to properties and buildings is that the city's record keeping system is in disarray and has been for years. It is my understanding that many properties have multiple addresses, especially if they happen to be corner properties. Sometimes the address goes by the east/west street and other times the north/south street. So much so that if you didn't know better, you might have two properties when you just have one. You also have many situations where the Property Control Number (PCN) is different for the various addresses - or it is listed incorrectly. Each property has a standard PCN and is uniformly applied by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser. This has been hit or miss in the past in terms of asking for the PCN for various applications and the city's integrity of their record keeping system suffers from it. Staff is getting a handle on it, but it is an enormous task.

Anyway, the article is an example of how people can game the system and take advantage of oversights or sloppiness on the part of contractors. Click title for link.

As hotel market warms, new Marriott planned for downtown West... | www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Nine stories and 152 room hotel planned in West Palm Beach. This is one of seven new hotels underway or planned for their downtown. Get this from the article, click title for link:
A recent survey concluded the estimated 1,100 downtown hotel rooms are about 2,000 short of what West Palm Beach should have to serve the corporate and convention business it seeks, officials said.
“The city knows we need a whole lot of hotel rooms,” interim Community Redevelopment Agency director Brenda Kelley said Friday.
Perhaps our hotel market consulting firm of Timm and McVoy will reconsider their conclusion that there is no market and never will be a market for hotels in Lake Worth? Such visionaries, both of them, I don't know how a town built on tourism like ours couldn't find at least 50 hotel rooms in its next hundred years. Maybe even within the next 5 to 10 years. Perhaps they'll reconsider their conclusions.

Getting specifics on legacy project cost worthwhile | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

Palm Beach continues to reinvest in itself. This time its the fountain area just south of their Town Hall. The elements have not been kind and the first estimate to restore and redo the entire plaza area came in between $7 and $10 million. Which happens to be about how much our casino building cost or really will cost when all the accounting is over and done with. Back to Palm Beach, they're looking for more exact and lower estimates now. Click title for link to another Shiny Sheet article.

Town recreation fund ‘very profitable’ | www.palmbeachdailynews.com

The Town of Palm Beach is making progress on its new golf course clubhouse, which will also have a restaurant/food purveyor. Click title for link to the Shiny Sheet article. Here's a bit from it:
Construction on the $3.1 million clubhouse, which began in March, should finish in late December, Boodheshwar said. That’s a few weeks ahead of the projected early January completion. He hopes to open before the end of the year, with a grand-opening ceremony in January.
Staff is working with restaurant vendor Pizza al Fresco to ensure the clubhouse and restaurant are ready for opening day.
We should be hearing shortly about a new food purveyor, rumored to be well known in the area, at the Lake Worth golf course clubhouse. It should be coming up soon on a City Commission agenda. I'll keep you posted.