Saturday, September 21, 2013

Editorial: Rail bridge could open up train service in South... |

That's the spirit. Just as I mentioned earlier today, we need to make way for increased utilization of under-utilized land along the coast. Otherwise, we will continue to sprawl to the west. And, yes, Lake Worth is part of that. This op-ed article by Andrew Marra talks about what needs to be done to accommodate and promote rail service from Stuart to Miami and identifies the missing link. Click title for link.

This is from the article:
This opens up a tremendous new travel option for millions of people who live or work east of Interstate 95. Getting from Clematis Street to downtown Miami could be accomplished with a single train ride. The service could expand into the Treasure Coast. The convenience would not only make mass transit feasible for tens of thousands of new commuters, it may encourage more development near coastal areas, reducing western sprawl.

Acknowledgement by Mayor Triolo on Facebook of error in published budget report...

Thank you Pam for using social media to get the message out. See previous post from earlier today.

With the proliferation of potholes throughout the city...

I thought it would be good to share this video on "Maintenance of Roads" from the silent film era. It was produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Public Roads in what appears to have been the mid 1920s. Perhaps this will aid in residents' efforts to stem the tide.

Not sure how material this is...

But if you happen to look through the Palm Beach Post's printed edition today (9/21/13), you will see many municipal and taxing authority notices, required by law, related to the adoption of the fiscal year 2013-14 budget. The fiscal year begins October 1 for municipalities in Florida.

Lake Worth's announcement is toward the back of the first section. It is in two parts, as are all the other budget announcements and tax increase notices. This is the "NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE" for the city of Lake Worth:
What caught my eye initially was whether or not this represented a "tax increase" as proclaimed in the title. Compared to the initially proposed tax levy of last year, this year's proposed tax levy (the last figure above) is slightly less. Then, I came around and said, "O.K., then line B represents adjustments in value and other changes where the city didn't collect what it thought was going to last year. And if you compare line C with this year's proposed tax levy, there is indeed an increase." This all relates to revenue generated by taxes levied on property or what is referred to as "Ad Valorem Taxes."

Each municipality or taxing authority is also required to publish a "Budget Summary." Here is Lake Worth's.
Here we find out at the top of the ad that the proposed operating budget expenditures are 4.62% more that last year's total operating expenditures. Well, that's all well and good.

However, if you look closely at the amount of ad valorem taxes applied to the general fund in the budget summary, you see the following:
This number should be the same as "This year's proposed tax levy" number in the "NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE" above. It isn't. It is $60,000 more in the "BUDGET SUMMARY." These numbers should be the same.

How many times was this looked at? Will the city have to re-publish? Or, is it no big deal?

The 'Columbian Exchange': How Discovering the Americas Transformed the World - SPIEGEL ONLINE

This article points out the revolutionary set of interrelated and unintended consequences of the "discovery" of the Americas by the Europeans, and the world-wide implications over time. Do you know there might have been a relationship between malaria, introduced by African slaves, and the establishment of slavery and the very battle line drawn during the Civil War. Click title for link.

Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition: South FL Enviro-groups File Federal Challenge Over the Scripps/Briger Phase II Project

Ever on the cutting edge of environmental advocacy, our band of Lake Worth activists is now stirring the pot through the claim that the Briger Tract is home to the Eastern Indigo snake, a threatened species. This is the Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition's announcement of their effort. Click title for link.

If you click here, you will read another account of their efforts, which does not give the full support of the group's focus and tactics.

US nearly detonated atomic bomb over North Carolina – secret document | World news | The Guardian

More proof of the critical need in representative democracy that we have access to public or government information. This accident back in 1961 could have contaminated much of the east coast with radioactive fallout. Click title for link.

Here is a video which provides a sneak peak tour of the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

Callery-Judge Groves sells to home builder |

This is an example of green field development. Joanne Davis, a Lake Worth resident and associated with the group 1000 Friends of Florida seems to be o.k. with the proposal. She also had a "Vote Yes, Keep Lake Worth Lo-Rise" sign in her yard earlier this year.

This project would intensify the residential density and commercial intensity along both sides of Seminole Pratt Road, north of Southern Boulevard. In some ways, no growth attitudes in the eastern communities of Palm Beach County create pressures for this sort of new development, instead of allowing for greater density and intensity of development within their borders. New development with existing cities - like Lake Worth - have existing infrastructure including water, sewer, roads and transit systems. Click title for link to article.
Minto seems to be taking pains to appease neighbors, said Joanne Davis of 1000 Friends of Florida, a growth-management advocacy group. Davis said she met with a Minto vice president and was impressed with a plan that called for stores and denser housing development in some areas and large-lot homes on other parts of the property.
“It all looked really good to me,” Davis said. “I didn’t have any immediate objection to it, even if they do increase density.”
By dropping big money on a property and then asking for a higher density, Minto is illustrating that Palm Beach County’s housing market is improving, said Jack McCabe, a housing analyst in Deerfield Beach.
“It’s like building a new city,” McCabe said. “They’re going to have to jump through a lot of regulatory and environmental hurdles. Their $51 million investment is going to mushroom into something considerably more.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Palm Beach County: Move Along Old Man | Florida Open Government Watch

Must watch! Two time High Noon in Lake Worth guest Joel Chandler shakes up Palm Beach County and Palm Tran with a simple public records request. Check out the article, but make sure to watch the video! The "goose chase" that was policy led to an 89 year old man to run around different agencies looking for what should be easily accessible public records. Click title for link.

Rainbow over Spillway Park

From today's water aerobic class at the Lake Worth Pool:

That's me in the back. I'm there so I am not a threat to myself or others. Not really. Since I am 6'5", I need to go in deeper water to get the benefit of the exercise. The class is taught by Sally Welsh. Generally, class times are 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Thursday and Fridays, 10 a.m. on Sundays. It's $4 to enter the pool area and then it's nice to leave a tip for Sally's gas and other expenses. This Sunday we are having a little brunch potluck after the class. The pool will be staying open Thursday through Sunday for regular swimming past October 1! People that had purchased a summer pass can use it through the end of October - that's what we were told yesterday.

Enjoy the video. Better yet, come and enjoy the class! Bonus points if you bike to the beach :)

New listings grow in Palm Beach County housing market while... |

Promising news! Click title for link to article. Here is something interesting:
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, predicted uneven sales in the months ahead that will be affected by “several market frictions,” including interest rates, loan availability and inventory restrictions.
While new listings increased in Palm Beach County, there is still just a 4.8 months’ supply of homes for sale, down from 8 months during the same time last year. A 6 months’ supply is traditionally considered a good balance between supply and demand.
“It’s becoming more of a sellers’ market,” said Barb Kozlow, president elect of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. “Homeowners have more confidence listing their homes for sale realizing buyers are eager to purchase.”

[CPNA] College Park Meeting, Monday September 23rd

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The College Park Neighborhood Association will hold it's Fall meeting on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 1415 North K Street.

This meeting will offer an exciting opportunity for Neighbors to speak to and hear directly from City Manager, Michael Bornstein and other Senior City Staff Department Directors on the proposed plan to improve, replace and repair infrastructure throughout the City. This means roads, sidewalks, stormwater, fire hydrants, city buildings, traffic calming, street lighting, the Park of Commerce and much more. This plan (Lake Worth 2020) was first presented at the Commission Visioning Session held in August and it is a WORK IN PROGRESS in terms of scope and financing.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 and the first half hour will be devoted to College Park Neighborhood news and announcements, beginning with an update from PBSO and an important update on the College Park Neighborhood Watch program.

The format for the rest of Monday's meeting will be an overview by the City Manager of what the Plan is, how it came to be and what kind of further information is required to finalize this extensive and expensive proposition before it can be approved.

The Lake Worth 2020 Plan as originally presented at the Visioning workshop is available for viewing on the city's website by clicking here. Please keep in mind that this is Plan In Progress and has not yet been finalized.

Following the presentation, Neighbors in attendance will have the opportunity to ask questions and express their own ideas and concerns. Questions and comments may be made in person and cards will be distributed for written questions.

The CP Board of Directors is grateful to the City Manager and Department Directors: William Waters, Steve Carr and Jamie Brown for making themselves available for this opportunity to interact with and respond directly to Neighbors.

All our neighbors from anywhere in the City are cordially invited to attend and participate.  Please feel free to share this information with friends and neighbors who may not be on our email distribution list.

General Motors propaganda film: "To New Horizons" - 1940

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Originally posted November 25, 2006 and getting a lot of hits recently: Strange but true...

Here I am sitting at Howley's and another Lake Worthian is sitting directly opposite me - with her laptop open, as I have mine open. We chatted briefly when I sat down. I said something about how we will be mirror images of each other and she assured me that she wouldn't be reading my blog. I asked, "Why not? You may learn something." She said that it was too boring, too much detail and that she lets Annabeth do that - more concentrated on the big picture she is, said she. Initials: Laurel Decker.

Just an FYI in a WiFi kinda way. LOL

Maybe we actually have more in common than we think? Perhaps a good place to start would be all working together for public WiFi in our downtown and finding a way to get a nice retro diner in and along North Dixie (like we had before the Patio restaurant was demo'd). That way we wouldn't have to patronize a West Palm Beach establishment with a similar atmosphere and amenities and we'd be keeping our money in Lake Worth.

Don't Panic! This is from the City's website re: Construction Activity around Lake Worth Beach & Casino Complex

This is from the news tab on the City of Lake Worth website:

Starting September 9, 2013
The Town of Palm Beach is installing a new sewer force main along the east side of A1A.  During such time, landscaping will be removed & heavy equipment will be in the Lake Worth Beach & Casino Complex area.  The Town of Palm Beach will be restoring all of the landscape that is removed/damaged during construction.  Work will be complete within approximately 45 days.

All Aboard Florida to pay for safety improvements at dozens of... |

This is excellent news. I think Lake Worth has around 11 crossings that would require upgrading for the high speed train service represented by All Aboard Florida. At first cities were told they would have to come up with millions of dollars for the improvements. Now, that's different. Click title for link. From the article:
FECI Executive Vice President Jose Gonzalez on Thursday morning told the Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization that All Aboard Florida will not hold the local entities to requirements in their easements agreements and will instead include the crossing upgrades in the company’s planned track upgrades.
That was good news for officials who are looking for money to ensure residents relief from 32 additional train horns each day. Palm Beach County has four times the number of residences affected as Miami-Dade County and twice that of Broward County because communities grew up along the railroad.

Few attend public hearing on Everglades restoration project |

Another good article on the Everglades and our water situation by Ms. Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post. Click title for link.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lynn A. is good at naming things after people...

Here she is at the meeting last night. She made an issue of naming parks after people and suggested that we name something after a notable resident in our community. It turns out she already did in a post dated March 14, 2013 under the headline "The Friends must now Bite the Bullet." It happened to be right after the "null and void" election held March 12th. Sensitive people might perceive this sort of picture as a threat.

From last night's City Commission Meeting (9/17/13) - Commissioners respond to public comments

City Manager Bornstein talks about the outsourcing of the code enforcement function - there will be a RFP coming before the City Commission soon. Changes are coming to address some long term problems with code enforcement.

From last night's (9/17/13) City Commission Meeting - Public Comment on Unagendaed Items

From last night's (9/17/13) City Commission Meeting - Public Comment on Unagendaed Items

From last night's (9/17/13) City Commission Meeting - Public Comment on Unagendaed Items

From last night's City Commission Meeting (9/17/13) - Compilation of Greater Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce and Recreation Board Presentations

From last night's (9/17/13) City Commission Meeting - Proclamations

The second proclamation regarding International Talk Like a Pirate Day includes an original poem about Lake Worth by Deborah Andrea, an employee in the City Clerk's office.

Jeff Clemens: What’s the purpose of speeding tickets on interstates? | Context Florida

Former Mayor of Lake Worth and current State Senator Jeff Clemens wonders out loud about the usefulness of regulating speed on our interstate highways. Apparently, he can't drive 55. Click title for link.

From Gossip Extra EXCLUSIVE — Palm Beach Post’s Death Knell: Newspaper Section to Vanish, More Layoffs

Jose Lambiet seems to enjoy dancing on the grave of the Palm Beach Post. He was a recent guest on High Noon in Lake Worth where we talked about his squabble over URLs with his former employer - something that actually involves an agency of the U.N. Click title for link where we learn about the Post dropping its TGIF section, additional layoffs, moving in part-time workers and possibly selling or leasing part of its headquarters.

World's first 'invisible' skyscraper planned for South Korea - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

This would at least address some of the issues of the "lo-rise" group, but not all of them I am sure. I doubt that we will see this put into practice here. Interesting approach, however. Click title for link to article.

Lake Worth business owners must reapply for sidewalk café... |

This was the most important issue from last night's meeting - besides the revelation about the power outage we experienced a few nights ago. More on that later. The sidewalk cafe issue will be a code enforcement hassle. But at least the city will have some real documentation and can uniformly apply the requirements. It will be a challenge for some businesses to conduct business in a manner in which they are accustomed. From the article:
The requirement that all businesses reapply is because some that have permits were not in compliance with the ordinance. Owners are required to provide a scale drawing of the café area and pay a one-time fee of $4 per square foot of public space they are using.
“We’re going to start fresh with everybody,” said Waters.

Scott 'deeply troubled' by looming flood rate hikes, urges U.S. Senate action | The Florida Current

We talked about this on the last edition of High Noon in Lake Worth and the implications for Florida property owners. Governor Scott is making a plea to re-examine the changes which eliminate subsidy of the National Flood Insurance Program starting October 1. It also coincides with new flood maps which expand flood zone risk areas. Click title for link to article. Here is what the Governor is saying.
“In cases where new maps move a property into a flood zone, homeowners may find it impossible to sell their properties to a new owner who will be shocked with the massive premium increases required to secure a mortgage. This unfair consequence could devastate parts of Florida’s real estate market, stymie Florida’s economic recovery, and diminish the state’s tax base,” Scott’s letter states.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An example of one of the minimum thrice-weekly press releases from the Town of Palm Beach:

As the Town Manager's Office keeps a record of all news releases, you may delete this email after you have read it. 

Due to a water main break in the 200 block of Bradley Place, traffic heading north will be detoured at Dunbar Road and Bradley Place.  The detoured route will be Dunbar Road to County Road, north on County Road to Kawama Lane then to North Lake Way. 

Any questions, please contact the City of West Palm Beach at 561-723-9164. 

Pat Gayle-Gordon
Administrative Assistant
Town Manager's Office

(Editor's Note: The Town of Palm Beach gets its drinking water from the City of West Palm Beach. WPB also services those lines.)

TDC approves plan to rebrand Palm Beach County tourism |

More evidence of a strong hotel market in Palm Beach County in this article about the Tourist Development Council. Click title for link. From the article:
Tourism Development Council Executive Director Glenn Jergensen described the results as “good solid numbers,” during Monday’s TDC board meeting. The increases reflect a healthy 71 percent occupancy rate for the year so far, and growth in the rates hotels charge.
And then this:
In addition, the CVB presented its marketing plan for next year. Pesquera outlined several “high-level, informal” goals:
• 6 million visitors, up from 5.4 million in 2012.
• 72 percent hotel occupancy.
• 5,000 new full-time jobs.
• $1 billion in taxable sales revenues.
“The competition out there is absolutely fierce,” he said.
The last group was about goals for the rest of the year. Tonight we are likely hear the defeatism present in Commissioner McVoy's' vision for Lake Worth and how if the market said that downtown Lake Worth needs a hotel, there would be a hotel. A good deal of what Lake Worth is now is due to our tourism-based past. What's to say that doesn't hold a part of our future? We can be more than the Ixora and the Silver Lions motels.

Didn't someone say once, "If you build it, they will come?"


Saturday, September 28th 11:00 am -5:00 pm
Cultural Plaza
414 Lake Avenue
Lake Worth FL 

From Facebook: US National Weather Service Miami Florida

On this date in 1947, a Category 4 hurricane slammed onshore the South Florida coast at Broward County.

Hillsboro Inlet Light near Pompano Beach recorded sustained winds of 122 mph with a peak gust of 155 mph! 

This is actually the 4th strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the United States in terms of maximum sustained winds (Camille in 1969 is #1, the "Labor Day" hurricane of 1935 is #2, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 is #3). 

So although another wet day is in store for South FL today, we can be thankful that we aren't dealing with what occurred 66 years ago to date!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A video from the Army Corps of Engineers on the Herbert Hoover dike from 2010...

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog : The Battle to Draw Down Lake Okeechobee | Weather Underground

Recent High Noon in Lake Worth guest Dr. Jeff Masters talks about Lake Okeechobee, the failure risk associated with the Herbert Hoover dike (which now acts more like a dam) and historical references. One of those references happens to the 1928 that still stands as the second greatest loss of life for a natural disaster in the United States. Today happens to the be the anniversary of the 1928 storm. Click title for link.

City of West Palm Beach - from Facebook...

From Palm Beach County Mayor Steven L. Abrams

"Last week, I joined the U.S. Secretary of Transportation at a press conference announcing a $13.75 million grant to help build three connectors between the FEC (eastern) and CSX (western) rail lines. The connectors will enable more freight trains to run on CSX tracks in less populated areas and free up more capacity for passenger service on the FEC line, including Tri-Rail Coastal Service and Amtrak. Also, there will be less waiting time for motorists who are stuck at crossings while long freight trains pass by."

Tomorrow 9/17/13 - Proclaimed International Talk Like a Pirate Day in Lake Worth

Lake Worth running diagnostics after lightning struck, killed... |

More on the power outage last night. I hear the rumble of thunder this morning and so do the utility crews. Many did get their power on around 10:30 p.m. last night, but others had to wait until 3 or 4 a.m. Click title for link to short article.

1928 hurricane - South Florida

Interesting map detailing the path and size of the 1928 storm which hit 85 years ago today. Also note the cross section of the levy around Lake Okeechobee at the time (which failed and cost many lives) and what the dike is now. It is widely recognized that the current dike is not adequate due to pressures to keep lake levels high for drinking water supplies. Excess is then directed east and west, not south. Click title for link.

1928 Palm Beach County hurricane victims: Honored after... |

Today is the anniversary of the 1928 hurricane. Click title for link to article about the mass grave of some of the victims of the storm in West Palm Beach. From the article:
On Sept. 16, 1928, the Category 4 storm smashed coastal Palm Beach County, washing out a flimsy 6-foot-high dike around Lake Okeechobee. Between 2,500 and 3,000 people were killed throughout the area.
With so many bodies, and amid health fears, authorities and searchers buried the dead where they could, burned corpses in massive pyres or dug makeshift mass graves.
At Tamarind and 25th, bodies of black victims were dumped in a 75-foot-long, 20-foot-wide trench at a black paupers’ cemetery.
In 2003, the city did a lot of improvements to commemorate the site, however those improvements are showing their age and maintenance is minimal. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lightning strike leaves about 8,000 without power in Lake Worth |

The forecast for power to be back on is midnight. It is now 9 p.m. Click title for link to Palm Beach Post article.

3/4 of Lake Worth without power, city website down, no answer on outage line.

But, guess what. Everyone is on FaceBook talking about it right now. How about a city presence on FaceBook that could issue announcements regarding outages? Right now people that don't have any information are drawing their own conclusions and the city is seen as being unresponsive.

How Detroit went broke: The answers may surprise you — and don't blame Coleman Young | Detroit Free Press |

This a stark piece of historical and investigative journalism on the part of the Detroit Free Press. It looks at the decline of property values and population since 1950 in Detroit and the fallout from that. The information is layered over the terms of the city's mayors over that same time period. The graphs and charts are interactive and show the major turning points over that period of time. One would be the time when pension payments to police and fire personnel exceeded payments to active personnel. Combined with the de-industrialization of the workforce and the trend toward suburbanization which were nationwide phenomena, you have what amounted to a death spiral. Click title for link.