Saturday, April 12, 2014

More reasons to visit the Taco Lady!

Scrabble Anyone?

Love Scrabble? Come and Play with us on the NAPC "Front Porch! Friday, April 18th at Evening on the Avenues. $5 a game - Pay once - Winners keep playing! Two boards going at the same time! Proceeds go to help fund the July 4th Raft Race! Hosted this week by the Nice Neighbors from Bryant Park! Derby Day Tickets also available!

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Vol. III: Occidental Mythology, p. 522

"The adventure of the Grail––the quest within for those creative values by which the Waste Land is redeemed––has become today for each the unavoidable task; for, as there is no more any fixed horizon, there is no more any fixed center, any Mecca, Rome, or Jerusalem. Our circle today is that announced, c. 1450, by Nicholas Cusanus: whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere; the circle of infinite radius, which is also a straight line."

From the City of Deerfield Beach's YouTube Channel promoting Quiet Waters Park

PBC advisory board sends ‘message’ — No 6,500-home Minto... |

A large group of Acreage residents attended a Palm Beach County Planning Commission meeting yesterday (4/11) to voice opposition to the large Minto development planned for the former Callery-Judge Groves property. They are seeking to double the number of residential units approved, and increase the amount of commercial and institutional space. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny their requests, but this is an advisory board and only the first of many meetings that will discuss the project. People in the Acreage enjoy a rural lifestyle and fear being over-run by increased traffic and other impacts caused by the project. Click title for link to article.

This is how one person described the impact of the project:
Tracy Grudzielanek, one of more than 30 speakers, quoted from the Bible to emphasize her fears that Minto West will ruin the rural character of the area.
“The gates of hell shall open up and hordes of locusts shall descend upon, devouring everything in sight. That is what Minto will be doing,’’ she said.
Lake Worth is in the unfortunate position of having to compete for a slice of the growth represented by these large western projects, while keeping our existing character. To a large extent, we have accomplished that with re-writing our development regulations. But the market forces still push development to western areas of the county where land is less expensive and dependent on the automobile for the great majority of transportation needs.

Six plans to make Lake Worth a better place |

This symposium was held two Thursday nights ago (4/3) at the Casino Building ballroom. Staff invited people that are design professionals, urban planners, land use attorneys and others in real estate projects. They were brought together to show a selection of six (6) different locations in Lake Worth could accommodate redevelopment. The highlight was showing how to work with our new land development regulations and how Lake Worth has built a review process that is one of the shortest in Palm Beach County. 

I heard that the event was well attended. I am coordinating with Mr. Waters on the best way to deliver the information dispensed in the PowerPoint presentation. It is a very large file. The presentation lasted about an hour and a half. Click title for link to Eliot Kleinberg's review of the meeting and the various prototype locations.
The city had mapped out all of its clusters of unimproved property, then hired a consultant group, showed them six sites, and directed them to use their imagination, said William Waters, the city’s director for community sustainability.
“Let’s say a developer came and said, ‘Let me know what I can do on this property,’ ” Waters said this week. “We gave them (consultants) free rein.”

Reinventing the Cultural Scene in South Florida April 23, 2014, 11 am-2 pm

The Colony Hotel, 155 Hammon Avenue, Palm Beach, FL 33480

JoAnne Berkow, also known as JB, is an artist, entrepreneur, poet and philanthropist. She has written several books including "Painted Poetry" and "What They Didn't Teach You in Art School". The first is an illustrated collection of philosophical poetry and the second is a book on how to become a more successful professional artist. She owns Rosetta Stone Fine Art Gallery. In the past she also founded the Touchstone Gallery, one of the most successful cooperative galleries in Washington, D.C. and Frenchman's Art Gallery and Studios, Inc. a membership gallery in Juno Beach. She is now taking on her most challenging project, Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, which will be a 18,000 sf complex housing a fine art metal foundry, glass art studio and a ceramic studio in the City of Lake Worth.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lake Worth's Mayor and City Commissioners getting a jump on things...

Frida Kahlo

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you.” 

Some pics from last night's fun at E.R. Bradley's Beach Club...

This was a fundraiser put on by the Lake Worth Recreation Board for next weekend's Easter-related festivities. It was well attended and the musicians, including Mel and Vinnie, kept everyone in high spirits.

Austin Brookley and AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt of the Recreation Board

Mayor Muoio supports making Okeechobee Boulevard better for pedestrians | WalkableWPB

From the WalkableWPB blog comes this post about Mayor Muoio's support for a more pedestrian friendly Okeechobee Boulevard east of Parker. The city has brought in recent High Noon in Lake Worth guest Jeff Speck as a consultant and assembled a team to start making this happen.. Click title for link. Check out the video of the Mayor that is included in the link. Here is a bit:
At Mayor Muoio’s media briefing on April 2nd, reporters asked the Mayor about her thoughts around the idea of making Okeechobee Boulevard a multiway boulevard or something more pedestrian friendly [minute 16:20].
Muoio: “One of the focuses of both Jeff Speck and CNU and our downtown is ‘how do we make Okeechobee more walkable?’ So any effort to do that I would applaud and would like to be a part of."
We thank the Mayor for endorsing this idea. She has touted the benefits of walkability publicly and often, supporting Jeff Speck’s walkability study, bringing in Peter Kageyama (“For the Love of Cities”) for a lecture, and conducting the Mayor’s walk.

Editorial: In Palm Beach Gardens, let residents watch meetings... |

This Palm Beach Post editorial rightly takes Palm Beach Gardens to task for reluctantly agreeing to provide video of their meetings, but only available the day after the meeting. In fact, the decision of whether or not to do it came at the end of a meeting, with no public comment. This is not exactly a model of transparency. And the Post rightly points out that doing this should not be based on the number of people who would watch, just as elections are held regardless of the turnout. I would take that even further and suggest that having more ways for people to be aware of what their local government is doing is a good thing that might bring more people out for municipal elections. Click title for link. From the editorial:
"Such a move would have been a bold gesture a decade ago. But it is 2014, and in Palm Beach County every other city of Palm Beach Gardens’ size already allows residents to watch public meetings online, as do the county government and the school board.

For years Palm Beach Gardens has held out, rationalizing and equivocating whenever residents demanded greater access. It’s well past time for this affluent city to incur the minimal cost involved in this fundamental accommodation.

Yet even now, Palm Beach Gardens is only planning a half-measure – making meetings available a day after they take place. Watching meetings live will still be impossible online. Residents who can’t make it in person are still relegated to listening to audio-only recordings, a poor substitute that makes it difficult to follow what is happening."

Water district OKs $1.9 billion Everglades plan, starting... |

That's a lot of money and it will spent over a period of ten years. It is also dependent upon consistent funding from Congress over that period of time to keep things moving. There are some doubts about whether or not that will happen. But, for now, it seems as though various stakeholders are happy with this step to get more water running south from Lake Okeechobee. Click title for link. And, yes, Drew Martin is quoted again.
The corps will now present the project to its Civil Works Review Board. If approved, other federal and state agencies will be asked to review CEPP. The corps hopes to respond to any agency recommendations and submit the final project plan to the corps’ Chief of Engineers by the end of July. With the chief’s report, the corps can then include CEPP in the funding bill.
Thirty-five speakers were given two minutes each to comment on the project Thursday. No one spoke against it. Praise for the vote came in press releases from the governor’s office, U.S. Sugar and many environmental groups throughout the state.
“Today is the day we need to make this decision,” said Drew Martin, a member of the Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District and spokesman for the Sierra Club said during public comments. “It isn’t enough but it’s something.”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April activities - Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

Let me start by thanking Mark Woods (Lake Worth's new Code Compliance Manager) for speaking at our March meeting. He is an overdue breath of fresh air. If you have any questions concerning code in this city he is the one to talk to as he is clear, concise and extremely well informed. Once again thank you Mr. Woods.

We have a busy month this month  -  especially for those who like to help take care of their city.

This Saturday, April 12th the Royal Poinciana Neighborhood Association is hosting a neighborhood cleanup. Meeting place is 404 S. C street at 8:00am. All are welcome.

The following Saturday, April 19th, Highland Elementary is again cleaning up the Lake Worth Beach area for Earthday. They will have free parking from 6:00-9:00am - those staying later will have to purchase a parking ticket. At 10:00am. the City of Lake Worth is holding their Easter Egg Hunt at Bryant Park.

On Saturday April 26th Lake Worth's CRA, along with many others, will be enhancing the TRNA area. Activities include putting the finishing touches on a kiddie playground behind the TRNA Fitness Park in the 200 block of N. H street. Volunteers will also be clean up TRNA neighborhoods. Activities start at 8:00am and finish at 1:30 with the ribbon cutting etc. Meanwhile there are other activities going on in the Cultural Plaza all day.

Hope we have something there to interest you.


Tonight - E.R. Bradley's on the Beach - Lake Worth Golf Course Clubhouse

Riding the Sunshine State With All Aboard Florida | TravelPulse

Click title for link to a travel industry website for more details on All Aboard Florida.

What's happenning with Channel 12?

Well, the video on Lake Worth City Commission travel expenses is scrubbed from the website, but the article remains. And this one from April 8th on the demolitions that happened this week along Lucerne. Check out the video. Michael Buczyner interviews Mayor Triolo. He keeps asking where the money is coming from and answers his own question twice that it is coming from federal grant dollars. It is good to see Commissioner McVoy standing next to the Mayor in this video.

It is worth pointing out that according to an informed source, the average price for a demo is $7k. There were 3 units on the properties at Lucerne and D. It was not $14 k per unit. If you watch the video, you might be left with that impression.

Advertising Opportunities for the Great American Raft Race T-shirt - Deadline is April 15th

Irony of it all: Rare bird’s nest in Lake Worth complicates... |

Click title for link to a Palm Beach Post article by Joe Capozzi (click title for link) about the American oystercatchers that have taken up residence around the western end of the Lake Worth bridge. There is a bit of a circular situation here. The oystercatchers were spotted earlier in the already completed, man-made Snook Islands project. There was talk last year of how, due to heavy rains and the incoming fresh water coming from the C-51 canal and other sources, that the oyster habitat was destroyed in the Lake Worth Lagoon. Oysters, it was thought, would take at least three years to regenerate assuming there was no massive influx of fresh water again into the Lagoon's estuarine system.

Without the oysters, it would follow that oystercatchers would have nothing to eat and go elsewhere. Blog reader Mike Lynch took pictures of the birds when they first appeared and sent me this picture which I have previously posted on the blog.
Two American oystercatchers shown on the Snook Island area north of the Lake Worth bridge.
Now comes the pleasant surprise that they have returned to the recently created nesting ground and have even jumped south of the bridge. That is the area that is currently "under construction" to expand the Snook Islands area east of Byrant Park. Two Lake Worth "birders" are featured in the article. Here is what one of them says.
Bulldozers would have continued work this week — and possibly destroyed the nest — if not for Gael Silverblatt, a Lake Worth resident who has been photographing Snook Island oystercatchers on almost daily visits to the north end of the Lake Worth bridge over the past few years.

“I’m just enthralled with them, with their red beaks and black and white feathers, the way they mimic each other,’’ said Silverblatt.

“You know that song ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’? That’s what oystercatchers do. One will face left, and the other will face left. One faces right, the other will face right. They’re so elegant.’’

On March 25, Silverblatt said, she photographed little blue herons on the shoreline just south of the bridge. A week later, she finally looked at the images on her computer and was startled by what she saw in the background of a photo — a female oystercatcher on the unfinished island off Bryant Park.

“I could tell by the way she was positioned, she was sitting on a nest,’’ Silverblatt said.

Silverblatt went back to Bryant Park that day and walked on the bridge for a better
look. “You could see her (the female bird) stand up and reposition the rocks (around the nest) with the male beside her trying to look important,’’ she said.
The irony, of course, is that but for the act of humans in establishing these habitats, we would not be seeing these birds in the first place. And, if you go way back, the lagoon was a fresh water habitat until the later part of the 19th century when the first inlet was cut from the ocean. As an aside, the last sentence above says a lot more about someone's world view, if you think about it, than just observing birds. Just sayin'.

People interested in wildlife, photography and the way wildlife migrates through the state of Florida might be interested in a talk to be given by Carlton Ward. He will be speaking on the Florida wildlife corridor tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society as part of its Conservation Society lecture series. The cost is $20. For more information on the lecture series, you can call 561 547 9453, extension 285. Click here for an overview of Mr. Ward's work that appears in the April 10 edition of the Shiny Sheet.

And here is the perky, ear worm song by the Bangles referenced in the article:

Gas Line Project Information - Next Tuesday (4/15)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pinkie with the Missing Linkie...

Look for the face that sunk 1,000 ships. See if you can find it.

This was in response to a simple question about the size of signs one can have for a business.

Three Local Mayors Help Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches Deliver Meals to Homebound Seniors

Deliveries Part of Annual March for Meals Campaign

Three mayors of Palm Beach County communities joined Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches in delivering meals to homebound seniors last month as part of the annual March for Meals, a national campaign designed to bring attention to the senior hunger crisis in America.

Joining the local Meals on Wheels volunteers in delivering were West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Palm Beach County Mayor Priscilla Taylor and Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo. The mayors represent all three communities currently served by Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. 

Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo (right) with Lana Waldner
“We very grateful to the three mayors for taking time out of their busy schedules to help us deliver meals,” said Executive Director Charlie Ring. “Through their visits, the mayors saw first hand just how much homebound seniors in our community appreciate the efforts of our volunteers, who bring nutritious noon-time meals and a bit of companionship five days a week.”

A national initiative of the Meals on Wheels Association of America, March for Meals is designed to bring attention to the 6.5 million seniors in the country who are in need of daily nutritious meals. Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches is a local affiliate of the national organization, serving residents in the West Palm Beach and Lake Worth areas.

The Mayors March for Meals in Palm Beach County was featured in local newspaper coverage as well as in segments on two local television stations.

About Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches
Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches is a non-profit organization dedicated to nourishing and enriching the lives of the homebound in the West Palm Beach and Lake Worth areas. An affiliate of the Meals on Wheels Association of America, the organization provides nutritious mid-day meals to those who are unable prepare their own.  A community-based organization, Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches relies on local residents for both financial support and for volunteers, and operates without government funding.

When doing an interview in any language, be careful of that which you grab...

I'm not sure that trying to "save" her with the microphone was the best idea either.

EXCLUSIVE — Palm Beach Billionaire Jeff Greene Sued . . . Contractors Seek Foreclosure on Mansion!

Previous High Noon in Lake Worth guest Jose Lambiet points out that "the next Henry Flagler", a title recently dubbed Jeff Greene by the Palm Beach Post, has a few billing disputes with people who worked on his Palm Beach estate. Click title for link to article.

Appointment of Wellington vice-mayor further divides council |... |

A brouhaha erupts in Wellington over a largely ceremonial appointment of a council member as "Vice-Mayor." According to tradition, the council member with the most seniority gets tapped for that position. In this case, on a 3-2 vote, it went to the council member with the least. Check out the video at the beginning of the article. Click title for link.
The appointment is largely ceremonial, but the title typically goes to whomever is the most-senior member of the council yet to hold the post.

If tradition held Tuesday, Gerwig would have been appointed — not Greene, who is the most junior of the five council members. He was first elected in 2012.

“I think it’s an affront to me personally and an affront to women in general that the three of you would not designate me as vice-mayor,” Gerwig said at the close of Tuesday’s otherwise routine meeting. “I would think you would be smarter than this: to declare war on me and declare war on women.”

North bridge to close May 12 to Nov. 1 |

Plans call for the north bridge to be closed over the summer. It turns out to be a complicated scenario as they are working to avoid further damage to the old bridge so that it can be used as the interim bridge. If not, then a temporary bridge will need to be built while the new one is underway. Such was the story for the Royal Palm (middle) bridge. Over $9 million was spent last fall in an attempt to repair the old bridge after damage from vibration. The Town is concerned about the short and long impact on traffic and has pulled back on some other public works projects in the north end. Click title for link.

Coniglio said residents have called her saying they’ve seen no work done on the new bridge.

“I’m hopeful that when we drive up and down Flagler, and up and down Cocoanut Row, that there will be so many people that I will hardly see the roadway,” Coniglio said. The project has generated significant anxiety and difficult conditions in the community, she said.

“We are going to partner with you shoulder to shoulder, but at the end of the day, the expectation is that you will deliver,” Coniglio said.

“We will do it,” Hamrick said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Walter Scott

"O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!"

William Waters addresses the Lake Worth MOD Squad meeting this morning (4/8)

The MOD Squad is a group of downtown Lake Worth merchants. This meeting took place at Brogue's this morning. I highly recommend that you watch it as it contains a lot of information about how the city is coming around and how some things still remain difficult. There are some interesting revelations here and it really is worth the watch. These are two sequential videos, linked together as a playlist.

BREAKING NEWS: Town of Palm Beach Dismisses Landmarks and Zoning Commissions

This is in the wake of the failure of the PUD-5 zoning ordinance to pass at the recent special election. The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach sent this e-mail out this afternoon. Click the link to the Shiny Sheet's shorthand notes of what happened during that part of the Council meeting. This is a MAJOR power play, to say the least.
Today, Tuesday April 8, 2014 the Town Council dismissed the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission.

This occurred under an agenda item placed by Councilman Bill Diamond titled “Discussion of Town Boards and Commissions.”

No backup, supporting documents or studies were presented.

Councilman Diamond made the motion which was seconded by Councilwoman Penny Townsend.  With Town Councilmen Richard Kleid and Michael Pucillo opposing, Town Councilpersons Diamond, Townsend, and Bob Wildrick moved forward with the full dismissal of all persons on the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission.

As such, the April Landmarks Preservation Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings have been cancelled.

The project to fix Memorial Fountain was to be heard at the April Landmarks Preservation Commission and now will be delayed.

It was also announced today that a demolition application to demolish all buildings on the Testa property along Royal Poinciana Way was filed.  This demolition application will be heard by the Architectural Review Commission. By law, the Architectural Review Commission cannot deny any demolition application.
Click here for link to the Shiny Sheet piece.

12th Annual Raft Race ~ "Art on the Water"

The 12th Annual Great American Raft Race in the Lake Worth Lagoon is right around the corner! The theme for this year's race is "Art on the Water". Neighborhoods in Lake Worth will be choosing a well known artist or work of art to depict on their rafts as they race for the coveted "Grunge Cup" and bragging rights for a whole year!
The NAPC is offering 2014 Raft Race T-shirts, featuring artist Aviva Brueckner's charming interpretation of Washington Crossing the Delaware to raise money to provide mini-grants for NAPC Neighborhoods to help with the cost of raft construction.

6 large and 12 smaller logo spots in full color on the back will be offered to local business and service providers on a first come - first served basis at $300 and $150. Artwork and payment absolutely, positively MUST be received by April 15th and that REALLY is right around the corner! Contact the NAPC at or call Mary Lindsey at 585-6035.

T-shirts will go on sale beginning May 2nd at the NAPC "Front Porch" at Evening on the Avenues. T-shirts are $10 in advance and $15 on July 4th - Race Day! Shirts can be pre-purchased and reserved now through NAPC Member Associations. Sizes are Small through XXLarge.

Billboard bill advances in Florida Legislature without clause... |

It's a little unclear about the scope of this bill. It reads as though this would apply only to South Florida Water Management land, but other provisions are quite sweeping. Luckily, the bill is having a hard time gaining traction in the house. This is part of a sneaky bill from 2012 that gave wholesale access to the same sorts of land for "public information systems." Click title for link to the article.
The 56-page bill proposes numerous changes to various duties of the Department of Transportation, including the regulation of billboards, leasing land for wireless communication towers on property owned by the department and extending a pilot program that allows the Palm Beach County School District to display ads of corporate sponsors on school property in unincorporated areas.

Among the changes to billboard regulations, the bill would reduce the distance between billboards on certain roadways and allow billboards that would be blocked by the construction of sound walls to be elevated or moved.

The Florida League of Cities — which wants power restored to local governments — was “blind-sided” by “eleventh hour” changes made in 2012, said Ryan Padgett, spokesman for the league, which represents more than 400 cities, towns and villages.

Billboards on any other type of property are subject not only to federal and state regulations, but also local ordinances, Padgett told the Transportation Committee.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mining Exec’s North Vancouver Home Sprayed by Gunfire | Earth First! Newswire

The power of suggestion? Click title for link.

Special Meeting About New Gas Lines Confirmed

Everyone from any Neighborhood is welcome to join the Neighbors of College Park as we hear Mr. Mike Pence from Mears Group, Inc., address questions and concerns regarding the new gas lines that are being installed all over our neighborhoods. Thank You to Pastor Fairbanks for confirming our location for this Special Meeting at the First Congregational Church, 1415 North K Street. The meeting is next Tuesday, April 15th at 6:30.

For those unable to attend due to the Passover holidays, a recap of the meeting will be posted on the College Park website the day after.

[CPNA] Special Meeting to Answer Questions and Concerns About the New Gas Lines

Dear Friends and Neighbors, Many of you have contacted the College Park Neighborhood Association with questions and concerns about the work being done all over the City by Florida Public Utilities regarding new gas lines. Mr. Mike Pence, from the Mears Group Inc., who are the contractors hired by Florida Public Utilities, has graciously agreed to answer questions and concerns at a Special Meeting in College Park to be held next week on Tuesday, April 15th at 6:30 PM. We hope to have this meeting at our regular meeting place - the First Congregational Church at 1415 North K St. but that location has not yet been confirmed. As soon as we receive confirmation, another email will go out to remind everyone.

If for some reason the church is not available next Tuesday at 6:30 PM, we do have a nearby back-up location. Please save the date, and please let your friends and neighbors who may not be on our email distribution list know about this important meeting. Everyone, from anywhere in the City, is very welcome to attend. We will confirm the location with an announcement on the College Park website,, on the Neighborhood Association Presidents' Council website at and on facebook via the Lake Worth Voice page, the College Park Neighborhood Association page and the NAPC page. Notices will also be sent to all the other Neighborhood Association Presidents so that they may inform their members via their own email distribution lists.

Thank You
Mary Lindsey, President CPNA

Deadline mix-up: Congressional candidate falls 521 signatures short but says she had 700 more in car | Post on Politics

I'd like to see someone decent run against Alcee Hastings, but I'm not sure this is the best choice given this incident. Click title for link.
Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Jean Enright, who has launched a Democratic primary challenge against 11-term U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, will have to pay a $10,440 filing fee to get on the ballot after falling 521 signatures short of qualifying by petition last week.

A “devastated” Enright said she thought the deadline to submit signatures was 5 p.m. last Monday. In fact, the deadline was noon. Enright said Friday that she had about 700 unsubmitted signatures in her car when the deadline passed and other campaign volunteers also had more signatures that didn’t get turned in on time.

Federal rail official blasts All Aboard Florida’s safety... |

Click title for link to article on the federal safety requirements for crossings for the All Aboard Florida fast train project. Standards for higher speed trains, this one will go 110 miles per hour north of West Palm Beach. The federal "guidelines" are much stricter than state guidelines. This is part of the broader process of assessing the impact of beginning such a passenger service on these tracks. From the article, Mr. Frey is a federal rail safety official:
“In my professional opinion, I respectfully disagree with the Project’s approach in that they are not exercising appropriate safety practices and reasonable care when designing for High Speed Passenger Rail service,” Frey said in a report dated March 20 and recently shared with local planning officials.

All Aboard Florida officials are aiming for a lower level of safety standards, he wrote. Florida Department of Transportation actually sets safety standards for the rail lines, and its requirements are lower than FRA’s 2009 highway-rail grade crossing guidelines for high-speed passenger rail.

Are Mangroves the Answer Against Global Warming Vulnerability to Disaster? - Kansas City infoZine

Click title for link to article which was originally sourced from Rueters, but appears in the Kansas City Infozine piece. Click title for link. I don't think that Kansas City has many mangroves, but our coastal areas do and are protected through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Snook Islands is an example of coastal mangrove restoration. They are now realizing that not only do mangroves stabilize coastal areas and provide valuable habitat for fish and other wildlife, older stands actually contain carbon deposits that may be thousands of years old. Check out the video for a quick overview.
"Our coasts are more vulnerable now to these natural disasters, whether they be from hurricanes, tsunamis or wave surges because of the loss of natural coastal barriers, such as mangroves, sea grasses, corals, salt marshes or other coastal wetlands. Even sand dunes play an important part in acting as natural barriers against the occasional, but devastating ravages of Nature.

"Mangroves are especially important today in reducing the adverse effects from climate change, because they sequester more carbon dioxide and store more carbon than any other plant species. They can store carbon in their peat soils for millennia if left undisturbed. Mangroves also are the last line of defense against the present rising sea levels that pose immense threats to coastal cities, towns, and villages. Mangroves actually accrue sediments, thus building up the shoreline, which itself is a vital defense against rising sea levels.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Palm Beach County mine expansion could kill rare snakes - Sun Sentinel

Resident expert on all things environmental, Drew Martin, quoted in the article. And he mentions the Briger Tract, which has been the home of "tree sits" and other protests by EF! and others. They haven't found any snakes on this particular property, but the habitat is one that would be likely for them. Click title for link to article.
Drew Martin, conservation chair of the Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group, said other projects, such as the proposed development of the Briger tract in northern Palm Beach County, would kill indigo snakes.

"We have the snakes being threatened in a lot of places," he said. "The more we reduce the number of indigo snakes, the more we run the risk that the snake could become extinct."

The opinion letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not say the work should not go forward. Although it said the work would "adversely affect" the species, the letter said the mine would not "jeopardize" its existence, the trigger that could hold up a project. The letter said the mining work would have to comply with standard procedures published by the wildlife service for avoiding harm to indigo snakes.

Missing written minutes raise issue of whether Wellington... |

The Post thinks it's found something not right when it comes to a Wellington development review committee's collection of minutes. In many cases, there aren't any stretching back for years. On the face of it, it gives the appearance that the village is not abiding by Sunshine Law requirements. However, this board is made up of staff, entirely and there are no elected or appointed officials on it. Lake Worth has a similar process, as does Palm Beach County and other local governments, for staff review and vetting of development proposals prior to them going to their planning boards and elected officials. After the advisory opinion came out in 2005 (mentioned in the article), the county did some word-smithing changed the name of the "Development Review Committee" to "Development Review Officer." The thinking was that if that group of staff people couldn't discuss a matter outside a public meeting, it couldn't function since staff interaction was part of the review process. Regardless, minutes of these meetings should be kept, the meetings should be open to the public and advertised appropriately.
 “I’ve always thought of minutes as a no-brainer,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee.

Petersen said the situation in Wellington raises two issues: “Did they violate the Sunshine Law through the failure to take minutes, and have they violated the public records law for failure to retain those minutes?”

State law requires minutes of local government meetings to be kept permanently. Audio recordings of those meetings must be kept for at least two years.

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen declined to comment on the DRC’s missing records but argued the law is unsettled as to whether it is a public board.

Gardens council, bashed for lack of transparency, OKs... |

This really is not that difficult to video and stream live local government meetings, but Palm Beach Gardens is making it so. If Lake Worth can do it, I am sure Palm Beach Gardens can do it. I know that our current city manager was given a similar song and dance about the complexity and the cost of streaming video and answered that by going to Office Depot and getting a webcam. The rest came together easily. There seems to be a lot of "high drama" in PBG that isn't necessary. Click title for link.
The city council, bashed by challengers during election season for lack of transparency, voted unanimously Thursday night to have its meetings video-recorded and made available for viewing on its website the next day, but not to broadcast them live.

The board voted to accept the least expensive option presented by City Manager Ron Ferris, a video-on-demand system, which council member Marcie Tinsley referred to as “day-after service.”