Saturday, July 18, 2015

From last Tuesday's (7/14) City Commission meeting: Discussion on pared-down LDR changes

You have to "Love LuLa"! The little City of Lake Worth featured in Palm Beach Illustrated

Click on the images to enlarge:

Emily Badger and "the other side of the tracks": infrastructure and segregation

Emily Badger at Wonkblog has this article titled, "How railroads, highways and other man-made lines racially divide America’s cities". To say her analysis will cause angst and handwringing for some is an understatement. I reference Emily Badger frequently because many of her observations seem so applicable to Lake Worth, FL such as one-way streets, urban blight, housing, and neighborhood revival are some.

It's hard to ignore the major role our roads, highways, and train tracks have had on this City: I-95, the FEC tracks, Dixie Hwy., 6th Ave South, and 10th Ave South to name a few. Dixie Hwy. is being talked about a lot lately and so is 6th Ave. South in District 1 (which I write about later). Both roads resemble walls more than roads; they divide the City and limit access to and from. Some of the suggestions are slowing the speed of vehicles, narrowing lanes, eliminating lanes, and add a turning lane and bike lanes.

Here is an excerpt from Wonkblog about "the other side of the tracks" that will hopefully make some look at their surroundings with a more critical eye:
     Like many metaphors, "the other side of the tracks" was originally a literal epithet. Blacks were often historically restricted to neighborhoods separated from whites by railroads, turning the tracks into iron barriers of race and class.
     In many cities, these dividing lines persist to this day — a reflection of decades of discriminatory policies and racism, but also of the power of infrastructure itself to segregate.
     Look at racial maps of many American cities, and stark boundaries between neighboring black and white communities frequently denote an impassable railroad or highway, or a historically uncrossable avenue. Infrastructure has long played this role: reinforcing unspoken divides, walling off communities, containing their expansion, physically isolating them from schools or parks or neighbors nearby.
Note that tomorrow (7/19) there will be a Crime Walk in Lake Worth with PBSO. That part of the City, District 1, is separated into two very distinct neighborhoods by I-95. West of I-95 is mostly White and middle class. East of I-95 is a different story; that part of the City has many minority residents (Black, Haitian, and Hispanic) and was hit particularly hard by the Great Recession; many areas are still struggling to this day.

The truly sad part of this is the most vocal in District 1 are the ones west of I-95 who have the better infrastructure, less crime, easy access to John Prince Park, and an altogether better quality of life. But it's still not enough. They complain constantly and bitterly about their lack of services and one very public figure has even suggested her part of the City be re-annexed back into the county.

The Crime Walk tomorrow will be very well attended, I'm sure. It would be real nice to see some neighbors from "the other side of the tracks" attend also. The reality is a reduction in crime benefits everyone no matter which of the four City districts you happen to live or which neighborhood in a particular district for that matter.
The white line above the label "The City of Lake Worth" is I-95. The City is divided into 4 districts; District 1 is on the upper left in this map with I-95 bisecting it.

Did you know God has a Twitter account? He does and you can "Follow" him

Click on the "Follow" icon in the image above to follow God.

Bella Terra: Residential Development north of Publix—Discussion from Tuesdays nights City Commission meeting (7/14/15)


This is the unnecessary, painful, prolonged discussion of the Bella Terra project, aka Hammond Park north of Publix that occurred at this week's City Commission meeting. After the dramatic and the mundane the vote was unanimous, 4/0 (Mayor Triolo was absent). Commissioner Maier first, and then Commissioner McVoy, went through a litany of concerns they had gathered from the people they talk to or who talk to them. These revolved around air conditioner equipment placement, use of "faux" materials, pervious versus impervious pavers, a courtyard instead of a community garden, and whether the project would be gated or not, etc.

You need to listen to it for the full impact. When you do, notice the degree to which the developer of the project addresses these issues. It is clear that much thought and effort by Maier and McVoy went into making something out of nothing (the property has been a vacant lot in the middle of our downtown for almost 10 years). This project was also reviewed by both the Planning and Zoning and Historic Resource Preservation Boards. Both of those boards held a public hearing, in the same Commission Chambers, on the application and addressed many of these items. Unfortunately, the meetings of the advisory boards played before an empty house. The people who have these concerns need to attend either or both of those meetings. That is where this type of detail really should be hashed out, addressed and then sent on to the City Commission. Having all these concerns suddenly come up at a City Commission meeting is very curious.

This discussion went on for an hour. It appears that the two commissioners who asked the questions make themselves out to be the "last line of defense" and, in doing so, are attempting to dilute the importance of the advisory boards, the City staff reviews, and all the work done prior to this meeting. Imagine how this appears to people trying to do business in the City, like this developer?

And as for this being a "gated community," this has nothing in common with what is known in the public consciousness as a gated community like you would find in Wellington or west Boca Raton. It's not that long ago that someone was lit on fire and left to die a block away from this project. The Publix parking lot just to the south of this residential community is the sight of all sorts of goings on. The existing residents are concerned about their safety and holding on to the value of their residences in such an environment. Someone on the east side of J Street could install a fence around their property, with a gate. All of them could. Would that somehow be a "gated community?" What it be un-Lake Worth to do that? Are fences and gates a bad thing? Of course not.

If you have the time I encourage you to listen to this discussion. They ended up approving it unanimously on first reading; but it was a painfully long and unnecessary process to get there.

[UPDATE] Nice house, but will Dee McNamara sell it to a n____r?

[UPDATE: This is a blog post originally from March 22nd. Today (7/18) Mrs. Dee McNamara went postal in the comments. Her grasp of grammar, punctuation, and syntax is not very good. The Other Blogger (TOB) tells us it's because she speaks 28 languages and gets things confused. I think it was 28; I'm not sure any more about the exact number. Anyhow, it was this Facebook post below and others like it by Mrs. McNamara that got her employer, well. . .shall we say 'concerned':
Without further ado, the blog post from March 22nd and Mrs. McNamara's comments!]

Read about Dee McNamara's racist 'N-word' rant at a public meeting in Lake Worth City Hall here. If Rinker Realty Inc would like to comment will gladly publish. Here is Dee McNamara's Rinker Real Estate Facebook page. I'll check back tomorrow to see if it's still an active site. And here is Dee McNamara's personal Facebook page

Dee McNamara, another in a long line of proud Rinker Realty associates? No. They fell for the lie. 

The true cost of past "visionaries" in the little City of Lake Worth

State of Florida Archives: Chaffin family home after the hurricane of 1928—Lantana, Florida

Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

From last night's Evening on the Avenues...

News: Journalist with foreign/CIA intel/global forecasting experience in the little City of Lake Worth, FL (pop. 36,000)

And in the nick of time. This journalist is going to start as a blogger; if we're lucky she'll start a newspaper or something. Believe it or not, she was actually a "deputy editor of the Miami Herald-owned" newspaper. She worked with the CIA (former officers) at Lignet.com. To my knowledge the City has never had an intelligence expert and our PBSO will probably want to tap into this journalists' vast global network. 
This information comes from The Other Blogger (TOB). She's upset I don't include URL's directing readers to her website. I'll consider that. In the meantime here is one her personal favorites.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Press Release from City: Lake Worth Beach Complex Presentations to be Held

July 17 – The City Commission of Lake Worth will hold a City Commission public meeting on Thursday, July 30th at 6pm to hear presentations from the respondents from the Invitation to Negotiate on the Lake Worth Beach Complex, Casino, Building Vacant Space and Municipal Pool. This will allow residents to participate and ask questions. The meeting will be held in Commission Chambers located at 7 North Dixie Highway, Lake Worth, Florida.

Companies that responded to City issued Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) #14-211 included:
  • Hudson Holdings
  • Oceanside Bar & Grill
  • Wave House Miami
For more information on the Invitation to Negotiate #14-211 specifications, please visit the City’s website at www.lakeworth.org

Press Release from City: Demolition of Unsafe Structures Today

Lake Worth, FL – The City of Lake Worth has scheduled the demolition of two structures that have been deemed unsafe by the building official. The structures are located next to each other at 711 South H Street and 715 South H Street. One of the homes suffered extensive fire damage and is uninhabitable. It is damaged to the extent where it is a hazard to life and safety and is likely to collapse. The other is open, unsecured, and has been deemed unsafe.  

The City’s Chronic Nuisance Service Remediation Program allows the demolishing of unsafe structures, boarding and securing vacant abandoned buildings, and clearing vacant, overgrown lots. With more than 100 properties requiring these services, residents and property owners eagerly look forward to the removal of blight from across the City.  
Unsafe Structure Demolition
711 South H Street & 715 South H Street
Friday, July 17 at 9:30 am

In 2013 there were 458 bicycle crashes in Miami-Dade, up from 234 in 2005

A highly interesting read by Sebastien Lozano & Matthew Toro in Miami Geographic. The numbers appear alarming however the bike culture in Miami has increased greatly along with the population. The article includes 'heat maps' that indicate where the accidents are clustered and you can see the trends over time. The FDOT is very precise with their data in Miami-Dade and wonder if this data is statewide or just for that particular city.

Remember some time ago hearing someone state that West Palm Beach's emphasis on bikeability was going to greatly increase bike accidents and make the public there less safe. There is a calculation that is cited in the article that debunks that notion:
"Taking into account the amount of walking and bicycling, the probability that a motorist will strike an individual person walking or bicycling declines with the roughly −0.6 power of the number of persons walking or bicycling. An individual’s risk while walking in a community with twice as much walking will reduce to 66% (20.4/2 = 2-0.6 = 0.66)."
As the authors explain, if West Palm Beach were to increase its bike ridership by 100% the number of accidents would be projected to increase 33%, not 100%.

Here are two excerpts from the article:
     With regard to the specific neighborhoods most affected by automobile-on-bicycle collisions, one area in particular stands-out as a constant hot spot during the nine year period. Miami Beach is where crashes are overwhelmingly densest.
     The central and southern parts of Coral Gables, near the University of Miami, as well as the City of Miami proper, also experience consistently high crashes levels. Neighborhoods such as Little Havana, Brownsville, Overtown, and central downtown have relatively high crash counts and density levels. On the other hand, some neighborhoods experience relatively fewer crashes. The relationship between neighborhood population density and bicycle crash density is apparent.
[and. . .]
     Does this mean it’s becoming even more dangerous to ride a bike in Miami? Not necessarily. [emphasis added]
     That conclusion can’t be made with crash data alone. What’s more important is the ratio of bike crashes to overall bike ridership. It’s plausible that the near doubling of crashes from 2005 to 2013 is due simply to more Miamians taking to the streets on their own two pedal-powered wheels. Without question, the cycling culture in Miami has grown in the last several years, as exemplified by the explosion in popularity of Miami’s monthly Critical Mass event.
Here is an example of a 'heat map' created by the authors to show the clustering of bicycle accidents:

The burning issue of the week: McVoy on crematoria in the City


This was in response to the public comment portion of last Tuesday's (7/14) City Commission meeting. The major issue, as reported in a previous post, was the number of crematoria that we have in Lake Worth and emissions from them. Here, Commissioner McVoy puts on his scientist hat and tells us about a Swedish product that is available to clean up the smoke from these facilities.

Apparently, these facilities have been here a long time. They are not currently allowed in the city. It does make me wonder, however: Didn't we have a prominent former Mayor that was a mortician? He served in the 70s and 80s. That could explain why we have a concentration of these in Lake Worth. Mr. Dorsey, are you listening?

Town of Palm Beach Traffic Advisory

Interesting in that it relates to work just outside the Town of Palm Beach and to a section of Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. I am sure that some Lake Worth residents use this road from time to time.

Beginning on Monday, August 17, all northbound and southbound lanes on Flagler Drive will be closed from 4 Street to the Flagler Memorial Bridge (north bridge) around–the-clock for approximately nine months while workers reconstruct Flagler Drive. Detours will be established as follows: 

Drivers going north on Flagler Drive from south of 4 Street should: 
Go west on Banyan Boulevard 
Go north on N. Dixie Highway 
Go east on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard to Flagler Drive 

Drivers going south on Flagler Drive from north of the bridge should: 
Go north/south on Flagler Drive to Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard 
Go west on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard 
Go south on N. Dixie Highway 
Go east on Banyan Boulevard to Flagler Drive

Thursday, July 16, 2015

It's official: Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo running for re-election

Eliot Kleinberg at The Palm Beach Post, Mayor Triolo is running again. And there are people out there who actually thought she could be bullied. Think again.

Public Comment from Tuesday's City Commission Meeting: 7/14/15


The big issue was the number of crematoria in the city (places that perform cremation services). They are no longer permitted in the City according to the land development regulations. But they may continue to exist as long as they maintain their business licenses. Concern was expressed about the smoke, fumes and toxic materials that the smoke can contain. According to the City Manager during his report at the end of the meeting the city is going to track down whose responsibility it is to regulate crematoria.

Here's the Palm Beach Post article on the crematoria.

Oh, and Peter Timm had something to say. To date though his best performance was when he sat in a city commission meeting with tape over his mouth:
Lake Worth gadfly Peter Timm with tape over his mouth holding Margaret Menge's now-defunct, always-FREE, delivered FREE, advertising-challenged tabloid.

Special Evening on the Avenue tomorrow, July 17th


Dear College Park Friends and Neighbors,

By now you all probably know that PBSO Captain Rolando Silva is being reassigned from his duties as Lake Worth District 14 Commander to serve as a Special Prosecutor in the State Attorney's office. Captain Silva has been an extraordinary advocate for all of our Lake Worth Neighborhoods and we in College Park are especially thankful for his support of our Neighborhood Wide ~ Neighborhood Crime Watch program.

Moving into the command position at District 14, is Captain Todd Baer who served our Lake Worth neighborhoods for many years in the LWPD before the merger with PBSO. Captain Baer brings his long experience and familiarity with our community to continue and strengthen the partnership with our neighborhoods and the PBSO.

Please join with all our neighbors in Thanking Capt. Silva and Welcoming Capt. Baer as the NAPC (Neighborhood Association Presidents Council) offers special tribute on Friday, July 17th at Evening on Avenues in the Cultural Plaza downtown. The NAPC will present a Proclamation of Gratitude, Best Wishes and Welcome at 8:30 pm. Complimentary coffee and cake will be served on the NAPC "Front Porch" in the Plaza and everyone is invited to enter their own good wishes on the cards provided.

Evening on the Avenue festivities begin at 6:00 PM with live music along with craft and food vendors until 10:00 PM. Admission is FREE.

Help the family of Austin Gilliam who lost his life in a tragic bicycle incident

The family has a GoFundMe account:
We lost a great, happy, loving, free spirit, very inspirational young man. Austin Gilliam lost his life due to a semi and bicycle accident in Stuart Fl. Monday July 14. Due to this horrible tragedy the family has to pay for the funeral costs. We will know more about his service today. As friends family and you, we can help by donating anything you have to help this family. Anything is appreciated. Thank you
Meghan McRoberts at NBC5/WPTV has this news segment about the incident in Stuart; here is an excerpt from the text:
     A Port St. Lucie mother is preparing to lay her son to rest after he was hit by a semi-truck while riding a bicycle Monday afternoon in Stuart.
     Sandra Harrop is pleading to drivers and bicyclists to be cautious on the roadways to prevent any other deaths.
     "Every life is precious. So, when you're out there, you just have to be aware that there are precious people out there and we just all have to be careful," Harrop said.
     Harrop says her son, 19-year-old Austin Gilliam, was riding his bicycle to work at Lowe's in Stuart when a truck hit him near the south end of the Roosevelt Bridge.
     That is also where the bike lane ends.
We know now that Austin Gilliam did nothing wrong. All he was doing was riding his bike to work and he was struck by a tractor trailer. Coming off the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart the bike lane ends and DOT has a "Share the Road" sign for vehicle drivers.

There will be much more to come on this.

Attention all nonprofits in Palm Beach County: more grant money available

Tony Doris has this article in the West Palm Beat:
This notice, from Quantum Foundation, Palm Beach County’s largest health-funding foundation:
     Quantum is accepting applications from small, grassroots nonprofits to share in $750,000 as part of its Quantum in the Community initiative. 
Here are some requirements:
  • Your organization must be registered as a 501[C]3. The initiative does not fund individuals.
  • You must have been working in Palm Beach County for at least 6 months.
  • Your annual operating budget may not exceed $500,000.
  • You must provide basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and transport to the county’s residents.

"A residential development by any other name…"

Bill DiPaolo from the Northern Palm Beach County blog has this about more development west of the Turnpike:
     Once the 275-house residential development was called Lakewood.
     Now the new community is called Sonoma Isles, on 260 acres west of Florida’s Turnpike at Indiantown Road.
     Workers are building the lake and entry roads into the project on former farmland. Lakewood plans include a restaurant, office, drug store and 150,000 square feet of research and development office space.
     The project that was approved by the Jupiter town council in July of 2014.

CityLab: Poor Customers Pay the Price for America's Crumbling Water Infrastructure

No one to my knowledge has ever suggested selling or privatizing the Lake Worth water utility which is the focus of this article in CityLab. But that was/is the solution for some cities around the country to fix their water woes and many are regretting going that route. In reading the article a few things stand out: the idea of a 'National Infrastructure Bank', the amount of water lost every year from broken water pipes and what steps can be taken to fix the problem other than digging up and replacing an entire city's water delivery infrastructure. Here are two excerpts:
America’s corroded, crumbling water infrastructure has reached the point of epidemic. Many of the country’s 1.5 million miles of pipes—some of which are more than a century old—are approaching a desperate need for replacement. Hundreds of thousands of water breaks occur every year. An estimated six billion gallons of treated water, which is as much as 18 percent of our total daily use, is lost to leaks or breaks every day. As urban populations grow, restoring and expanding our water systems—just to maintain current levels of service—will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years. 
[and. . .]

What can be done, barring privatization? David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Association, has said that public utilities first need to audit their systems and install meters more widely in order to get a handle on how much water is being lost. Beyond that, extensive infrastructure investment—maybe even a National Infrastructure Bank—is essential. More than ever, we need a safe, stable, and equitable water system—and only local governments should be entrusted to provide it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

[ANOTHER LOOK BACK] The Fallout from Joseph Thompson III's restaurant review published by Ms. Menge

[This is another in a long line of the absurd, ridiculous, and downright obtuse content from Margaret Menge's now-defunct tabloid. Her last issue (Vol 1/Issue 14) was published on April 24th. She blamed many people for her failed endeavor but curiously the fact that the paper was always-FREE, delivered FREE, and had hardly no advertising were not among them. At one point I speculated she had discovered a heretofore undiscovered business model. 

Menge's restaurant reviewer, Joseph Thompson III, wrote one review and was never heard from again. He disappeared from the scene faster than a taco at Lupita's. The review of Benny's on the Beach was so terribly done that Menge had no choice but to give Lee Lipton, the owner of Benny's, almost half the editorial page to answer back Joseph Thompson III. 

There was also a backlash from the community as well. Without further ado, my post from January on the infamous food review published by Ms. Menge:] 

In the first issue of Margaret Menge's newspaper (1/16/15) she included a restaurant review by Joseph Thompson III. After Mr. Joseph Thompson III's review, well, let's say he was ingloriously let go by Ms. Menge, or so we assume. Mr. Thompson III's career as a restaurant reviewer was short-lived. Perhaps it was the travel and entertainment allowance being set too high, being a start-up and all? We can only guess.

The review of Benny's on the Beach by Joseph Thompson III was pedestrian and narrow-minded. Ms. Menge had no choice but offer the manager of Benny's on the Beach, Mr. Lee Lipton, a very long response which he took advantage of. You can read excerpts of the response to Mr. Joseph Thompson III by Mr. Lee Lipton here

Yet the uproar created by Joseph Thompson III continues. Ms. Margaret Menge felt obligated to publish yet ANOTHER Letter to the Editor on 1/30/15 in response to the amateurish, preposterous restaurant review of Benny's on the Beach by Joseph Thompson III. This letter was from Tim and Lorrie LaRose. Here are two excerpts of the letter by Tim and Lorrie LaRose that Margaret Menge published in her paper:
My wife Lorrie and I, who enjoy living in Lake Worth, wanted to share with all our newfound discovery....Benny's on the Beach and the great food Chef Jeremy Hanlon is serving up for all to enjoy. Chef Hanlon's long experience working with world renowned Chef Daniel Boulod and others sure comes through in his cooking and arrived he has....Fortunate we have been to have traveled the globe and enjoy the meals of so many fabulous chefs. Chef Hanlon is one of those chefs!!! 
[and...]
Chef Hanlon's cooking, especially his seafood, is as good as you will find anywhere on the planet!!! Clean, simple, fresh, fabulous flavors come together in his cooking. Grab your wife and friends and treat yourselves to this relaxing setting at the beach on a sunny day or into the evening....Ken, who manages the whole affair superbly, will find you a great table to enjoy this great jewel in our backyard!!! Give a big applause to Lee Lipton and his son Max and the entire team @ [sic] Benny's on the Beach for the experience they are bringing for all to enjoy!!!
Joseph Thompson III's review of Benny's on the Beach was vapid. And I applaud Mr. Lee Lipton, Tim LaRose, and Lorrie LaRose for setting the record straight. This is what Lake Worth is all about: Community. 

Thank you.

Alyssa Hyman at NBC5/WPTV: Greenacres neighborhood fed up with crime

Here is a link to the news segment. Maybe we'll read more about this in The Palm Beach Post; it seems to be a very serious situation. If you've been following the news by reporter Kevin Thompson you'll know that Greenacres is considering disbanding its police department and going with PBSO. A commissioner there cited the drop in crime in Lake Worth after PBSO took over as one reason to make the change.

Evening on the Avenue in downtown Lake Worth this Friday: music by Raquel Renner and the Ramblers

Performing this week is Raquel Renner and the Ramblers. Here is a video of the band from a few days ago in Stuart:

If you have an event coming up in Lake Worth and you want the City to know about it contact Ashley Brown:

It's official: Palm Beach County in a 'severe drought'

The map supplied by Kimberly Miller shows that areas of Broward and Miami-Dade are in 'extreme drought', one level worse than Palm Beach County. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     June, which is typically the rainiest month of the year, saw just 4.41 inches of rain – about half of the historic norm.
     South Florida historically receives about 20 percent of its rain for the year between Memorial Day and July 4 – the most consistent and important period for recharging the water supply after the dry season, said Geoff Shaughnessy, meteorologist with the South Florida Water Management District.
     “Historically, we get about a foot of our 52 inches in that period,” Shaughnessy said in an interview with The Post last month. “If you were to break down the hydrologic phases, it’s probably the most important one in the year.”

Commissioner Comments and Liaison Reports from the 7/14/15 City Commission meeting


Note that Vice Mayor Maxwell conducted the meeting. Mayor Triolo was absent due to being under the weather. We hope she feels better soon!

Forced to Farm: former Lake Worth Commissioner wants to sell off the Ag Reserve

Hard to believe: former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, the champion of resiliency, sustainability, anti-development, etc. while a city commissioner in Lake Worth is now Chair of the Forced to Farm PAC that is organized to sell off land, ostensibly to developers. Drew Martin will not be happy.
Here is the Forced to Farm website. When you go through the site you learn there are many misconceptions about the Ag Reserve, like this one:
You might remember Suzanne Mulvehill in this popular video:

2015 Raft Race Presentation: Commission Meeting of 7/14/15


This is a brief summary by John Faust, Greg Rice and Anthony Marrotta of all the fun at the City's RIF Raft Race on July Fourth. A slide show accompanied the presentation that included the events leading up to Saturday that happened each night before the big day.

Presentation by Richard Pinsky, State Sen. Jeff Clemens and State Rep. Bobby Powell from last night's (7/14) City Commission meeting


This was one of the presentations from last night's meeting and included an update of last year's legislative session(s). There were actually two since a special session was called in June just to review and approve the required state of Florida budget. Much of this presentation had to do with the City's attempt at securing infrastructure monies for the Lake Worth Park of Commerce. It appears that the City did everything it could, along with our legislative representatives, to secure those funds. Unfortunately, the city's request fell victim to Governor Scott's veto. The Governor gave little reason for the veto other than saying that the request did not go through all the correct processes. However, we learned last night that the City did touch every base and it was more due to the fact that the governor's review of these requests took place in a compressed seven day period. The message here is that the City will try again next year. We also found out that Riviera Beach's drainage project that was funded this year was denied a year prior. So there is a reasonable expectation that the same might be true for Lake Worth's request.

Application filed for exploratory oil well in the Everglades

Oil drilling is nothing new in the Everglades; it has been going on for many years. This would be an exploratory well to find out how much oil is below ground. There are no plans to remove any oil. This drilling would occur in southwestern Broward County. Here is the article by WTVJ/NBC6 in Miami:
The plan filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection calls for a five-acre oil pad, with the drill reaching 11,800 feet. Once operational, the drilling would take place 24 hours a day for 60 to 80 days, with a crew of 12 to 18 people on site. The Sun-Sentinel reports the well would be exploratory only, with no announced plans for pipelines or other means of transporting the oil.
For some reason the article mentions Barron Collier who was instrumental in developing southwest Florida, an area named after him, Collier County. He was the driving force behind the Tamiami Trail and drainage of the Everglades in the early 20th Century.

[UPDATE] Lake Worth is a 'Sanctuary City'? No, it isn't. More historical revisionism

[UPDATE: Now Frank Cerabino at the Post is fueling this nonsense. Father O'Loughlin and the Guatemalan/Maya Center do NOT set policy in the City of Lake Worth. Here is how City Manager Michael Bornstein responded:
     Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein was mystified to learn this month that his city has been labeled a sanctuary city.
     “It caught us all by surprise,” he said. “I asked if there was any ordinance or proclamation in the past, and there was nothing. I think we just got roped up with a bunch of other cities.”
Below is a post from last week where I explained how this 'sanctuary city' nonsense got started:]

If memory serves me correctly, and I have checked with others who were around at the time the discussion was taking place, Lake Worth never officially became a sanctuary city. It was long a hope of former commissioners Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden and Suzanne Mulvehill that it would be (all candidates supported by The Other Blogger [TOB]). Former City Manager Stanton was here while the Day Labor Center was operating. It was also under her direction that the city hired day laborers without any identification for odd tasks here and there around the City. Then-Commissioner Jennings told of how the Labor Center served the "entire city" and that we should be glad that we have it due to the state of the economy at the time.

I lived within the city limits of Lake Worth back then, as I still do, so I went to the Labor Center to prove their claims were false, vis-à-vis the Labor Center "was serving the whole city". I signed up to be eligible for work through the center. The director at the time, her name escapes me now, didn't quite know what to do with me. They even gave me paperwork asking me for certain information which I protested since I didn't think that was the policy of the center. I never was called in for a temporary job. I was told that since I had registered I was eligible to come and eat lunch there and wait with the other people for a job should an employer come in looking for people.

Here is a video I took during my visit. You can see the 'hustle and bustle' of activity:

The Labor Center lasted about a year while those three previously mentioned commissioners were in office. Then the city had to address repairs to the building upon the center's departure. There were also expenses incurred in preparing for a Labor Center that the city never recouped. Other than the city commission not extending a lease for the center, former City Manager Stanton did little to thwart the efforts of her friendly commissioners.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Did you know the City of Lake Worth, FL is on Twitter now?

Yes, the City has entered the digital, social media world. Make sure you go to the City's Twitter feed and Follow them or click on the "Follow" icon in the image above.

Bicyclist killed in Stuart

Saw this news on Twitter yesterday and was shocked like everyone else who heard about this terrible accident, which is really not an accident at all. The young man was only 19 years old and he was struck by a large commercial vehicle coming off the Roosevelt Bridge into the town of Stuart. This is the location where the incident occurred:
U.S. 1 is in yellow (north-south): image from Google Maps.
Here is what we know so far: the Roosevelt Bridge (U.S. 1) has a bike lane and the man was riding south into Stuart. At the base of the bridge the speed limit is 35 mph and the bike lane ends. DOT has a "share the road" sign in the area for drivers to share the right-hand lane with bicyclists. In video of news reports you can see the lane striping, the curb, and the 2-foot (approximately) lane of asphalt that bike riders can try to stay near to south of the bridge. 

Jana Eschbach from CBS12/WPEC did a real good report but the archived news segment was bungled by their editing department. From her report you can see the curb and the small area for bicyclist to navigate:
Here is the news segment from Meghan McRoberts at NBC5/WPTV. Thirty seconds into the video you can see cars coming off the bridge and not one of them seems to be going 35 mph; more like 45 to 50. 

There is more information to come on this incident and don't want to jump to any conclusions. Yet. Suffice it to say that where this incident occurred no sufficient accommodations exist for bicyclists. In many places in Florida bicyclists are discouraged from using sidewalks; no doubt the "share the road" sign encourages bicyclists to use the right-hand lane in traffic.

I haven't been over the Roosevelt Bridge in a long while but can take a wild guess about its lane configuration (let me know if I am wrong): the lanes are wideprobably 12 feet wide or close—and most drivers drive at least 10 mph over the posted speed limit and continue at a high rate of speed well past the bridge. Why is this significant here? This is why.

There will be much more about this 'accident' on this blog in the weeks and months to come.

Video from the Living Shoreline Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Today (7/14/15)

Snook Islands and Bryant Park Wetlands and Lving Shoreline Restoration Project: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Video Coming Soon!

[Lest We Forget. . .] Delamination at new Lake Worth Casino Building (5/31/15): Grand Opening was on 3/1/13

Delamination is a mode of failure for composite materials and steel. In laminated materials, repeated cyclic stresses, impact, and so on can cause layers to separate, forming a mica-like structure of separate layers, with significant loss of mechanical toughness.
West side of new Casino BuildingSecond Floor, south wing.

Note that the Casino complex business plan is now a "confirmed failure".

Kimberly Miller: Lake Okeechobee water levels (and do you know your watering restrictions?)

Below have the City of Lake Worth watering restrictions. For those of you who reside in other cities and unincorporated Palm Beach County, do you know what your watering restrictions are? And do you know where your water comes from? West Palm Beach is Lake Worth's neighbor to the north but we get our water from different sources.

West Palm Beach gets its water from mostly surface water and supplies Palm Beach (33480) the water they use; Lake Worth uses wells. Lake Okeechobee is very important as you'll read in this excerpt in the Post:
     Lake Okeechobee is closely monitored because it provides water to large agricultural areas and the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes. It also acts as a backup water supply for cities, including West Palm Beach, during severe droughts.
     Areas north of Lake Okeechobee that flow into the lake have received more normal rainfall amounts. The Upper Kissimmee Basin actually had above-average rainfall last month with 8.39 inches of rain.
     On Monday, Lake Okeechobee stood at 12.01 feet, below the preferred levels of between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet, but not enough to signal water shortage measures. Those kick in at 11.35 feet, Kivett [Jeff Kivett at the SFWMD] said.
     No one is talking increased water restrictions yet, but residents of Palm Beach County and 10 others have been limited to watering their yards to two to three days a week since 2010. The watering must be done before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
You may want to familiarize yourself with local watering restrictions; here are the restrictions for the City of Lake Worth, for example:
  • Home Addresses Ending With Even Numbers (including zero) May Water Lawns & Gardens on Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday
  • Home Addresses Ending With Odd Numbers May Water Lawns & Gardens on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
  • No Watering between 10am & 4pm

Click here for a great New York Times article on the origins of the bicycle...

The article talks about its invention in the late 19th century and gives it credit for early women's liberation and technology advancements. For example, the bike came before the car, but shared many of the same components of the early automobile. Many car-makers were first bicycle-makers. Bikers were the first to demand paved roads too. Don't miss this one.

Sun Sentinel: More on Tim Nicholls and his bicycle accident

Nick Sortal from the Sun Sentinel also has a video in his report. Nicholls was in a group of riders that crashed. Here's an excerpt from the article:
    Tim Nicholls, injured when a group of bicyclists slid on the remains of an alligator in Weston, is shown at his Pembroke Pines home on Friday, July 10, 2015. Nicholls has a brain injury that causes perceptive dizziness so he's unable to open his eyes.
     On June 28, he was in a group of cyclists zipping along at about 30 mph, only to skid after encountering bits of an alligator squashed by a car on State Road 84.
     Nicholls says internal bleeding in his skull has caused swelling, although doctors say it eventually will go down. Until then, he keeps his eyes closed to prevent dizziness and is trying to eat as much as possible. His thin runner's build is now too thin, with his weight dropping from 134 pounds to 120.
     "I have no memory at all of what happened," said Nicholls, whose last recollection was having fish for dinner the night before.

From Vox: Some hospitals let a preventable infection kill their patients

About the video: Some hospitals treat infections like plane crashes. Others treat them like car accidents. That difference in attitude can determine whether patients live or die. Click this link for the text of the article from Vox.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Update: Benny's on the Beach

NBC5/WPTV, CBS12/WPEC, The Palm Beach Post, and other media were there yesterday. Ends up it was a very small fire and was extinguished quickly. The Post reported that business resumed quickly following the incident. Here is the WPTV report of the incident:

From Walkable West Palm Beach—A Reminder: Auto-oriented development is a huge experiment

"I’m a member, enthusiast, and content contributor for Strong Towns, and Strong Towns has been producing a series of videos to distill the essentials of the organization’s message. In one of the recent videos, titled “Auto-Oriented Development”, Walkable West Palm Beach contributed B-roll footage of the lovable Okeechobee Boulevard, showcasing an example of a productive, safe transportation investment. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm there, you need to subscribe to the blog. Skip ahead to 2:00 to see the Okeechobee Stroad footage."

Luckily, the City of Lake Worth has escaped the more egregious forms of auto-oriented development. This is due in large measure to the fact that the city was laid out in its grid pattern before the predominance of the automobile as the main mode of transportation. Residential developments that were planned during the middle and later parts of the 20th century, like Lake Osborne Heights and Vernon Heights, show the difference in dimensions and street layout that the automobile prefers: not the pedestrian.

However, it is important to point out that Dixie Hwy. is designed for the motor vehicle, not for the pedestrian or the bicyclist. And to many it is a dividing line in our community. Plans are working through the 'idea stage' to slow down traffic on Dixie Hwy., reduce the widths (and possibly number) of lanes and maybe add a bike lane. When we see that in real life, along with eliminating as many one-way streets as possible, is when Lake Worth will be a truly city-wide pedestrian-friendly, walkable and bikeable city.

AP: The southern U.S. will have its first wind farm facility soon

This news is from Jason Dearen at the Associated Press:
     On a vast tract of old North Carolina farmland, crews are getting ready to build something the South has never seen: a commercial-scale wind energy farm.
     The $600 million project by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables LLC will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, with plans to add about 50 more. Once up and running, it could generate about 204 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes.
     It would be the first large onshore wind farm in a region with light, fluctuating winds that has long been a dead zone for wind power.
[and. . .]
     Right now, there's not a spark of electricity generated from wind in nine states across the Southeast from Arkansas to Florida, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group. [emphasis added]

The "Living Shoreline" ribbon cutting tomorrow at Bryant Park (and no, the issue of sea level rise never came up)

Click on the image to enlarge:
Visit the Michael Singer website for more on this project. Here is an excerpt:
The sculpted mangrove planters being fabricated and installed in Lake Worth, Florida will be the first true Proof of Concept for the Living Shorelines Initiative. This first Living Shoreline is comprised of 11 sculptural elements designed to retain soils to support the growth of mangroves and emergent grasses, create shelter and passage for fish, and establish oyster reef habitat within the Lake Worth Lagoon (see the project details here). This first Living Shoreline is being funded by Palm Beach County and the National Endowment for the Arts. ERM will conduct post-installation surveys to study local aquatic ecosystem changes over time. The long-term plan is to study this prototype project and advance the design of the sculptural elements for different sites in order to create economically viable and environmentally effective reproducible model(s) for all of South Florida.
Image from the Michael Singer website.
To date there has been no comment from Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy on proceeding with this project due to his expressed concerns over Sea Level Rise and Climate Change. However, when a comment is issued will post an update for readers. Maybe he'll express his concerns tomorrow at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He has expressed concern before over the spartina grass being used instead of mangroves. Stay tuned.

South Palm Beach and the amazingly short stint of Jim Pascale as city manager

Dan Moffett at The Coastal Star writes about the Jim Pascale's short time as city manager of South Palm Beach. When you begin the job as city manager it might not be the best idea to wonder if the town should be unincorporated and going with outside law enforcement (PBSO?). But that's what he did and three months later he resigned:
     Three months after leaving Princeton, N.J., and taking over as the town manager of South Palm Beach, Jim Pascale told residents they should think about whether the town should continue to exist. [emphasis added]
     Many were caught off guard. They were planning to celebrate South Palm Beach’s 60th anniversary later this year.
     Bad timing aside, Pascale won’t be remembered for a lack of chutzpah in talking about offing the town that just hired him. But as a career move, it was pretty much suicidal.
     “He had a lot of ideas and was putting them all out at once to see which ones would stick. People just weren’t able to deal with that. It was too much,” said Mayor Bonnie Fischer. 
[and. . .]
     Besides proposing that South Palm Beach might be better off as an unincorporated community, Pascale offered other ideas that set off the firestorm around him.
     He called the town’s Police Department “an accident waiting to happen,” saying officers were poorly trained and an insurance liability that could bankrupt the town. He said it was time to consider contracting with an outside agency to save money and minimize risk.

Staci Sturrock at Post: Lupita's closed today, reopening tomorrow after relocation down the street

Real good news for Lupita's, one of everybody's favorite restaurants in the little City of Lake Worth:
     Lupita’s, one of our favorite daybreak destinations for huevos rancheros and late-night stops for tacos, is moving early next week.
     But Lake Worth’s beloved Tex-Mex eatery isn’t going far — just one block south on Dixie Highway, in a building previously occupied by Don Victor and Pegasus restaurants.
     Lupita’s needed to stretch its wings, says general manager Eduardo Rivera.
[and. . .]
     The new location will not only have a bigger kitchen but also inside and outside seating, and a beer-and-wine license. Other than that, Rivera says, “It’s the same food, same employees, same prices. Everything is the same. It’s just a bigger place.”
     Lupita’s will be closed Monday to relocate to 301 N. Dixie Hwy., where they’ll reopen Tuesday and resume their normal business hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 7 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lake Worth 'Editor' Marge Mange & sneak peek at latest issue out TODAY!

NOTE: Marge Mange's tabloid now has a price! Pony up $4.50 now. The days of the Marge's ALWAYS FREE, delivered FREE, and FREE advertising are over.
On an entirely different topic:

More about the Bamboo Room in downtown Lake Worth

This was a previous article that made the Post, front page, above the fold, in the 'B' section.
Here is another in a series of articles about the Bamboo Room from the Post's Kevin Thompson on the club's plans:     
     The plan is to use more of the club, meaning the upper deck and the back parking area, for parties and music acts, Minton [David Minton, the club’s managing partner] said.
     As for last week’s holiday weekend event, the operators said they were surprised at the turnout. They expected 350 people each night. The event averaged more like 650 each night.
     “We had to close the front doors around nine o’clock,” Minton said. “But people started walking around the back to get in, so those numbers could be higher.”
     Minton said the club made about $19,000 for the three nights.
     “The club was packed and rocking like the old days,” said Lake Worth resident Christopher Fleming.
The owners plan on a diversity of entertainment, not just blues and jazz, to draw people to the club. One idea they seem to be moving forward with is a comedy show one day a week.

If you have more good news you want to share with Kevin Thompson here is his contact information (and avoid anything from NerdWallet please!):
Email: kthompson@pbpost.com
561-820-4573
Twitter: @kevindthompson1

From MOTHERSHOULD: "How To Successfully Sue Other Moms Who Steal Your Parenting Tricks"

Breaking News: Fire at Benny's at the Beach

UPDATE: Good news. It was a small fire and it was put out. We'll get more information on this later.
There was no sign of this when I left the pool area around 11:20 or so this morning. Just before noon, fire trucks raced through downtown on their way to the beach.

Robby Brumberg: "Don’t lose sight of Florida’s many virtues" and a call to change the conversation

This "Point of View" was published in The Palm Beach Post last Wednesday. Robby Brumberg of Delray Beach is a little fed up with the news trollers of the anti-Florida media. They work so diligently to give the state a bad image:
     Fellow Floridians, we are under attack. Our good name continues to be sullied by reckless Internet users who defame this great state. The effort to paint Florida as “the crazy state” — where the weird, the incompetent and the fair weather reside — is an ongoing campaign.
     The anti-Florida media are to blame. Is it really necessary for everyone to know about every shameful or bizarre incident that goes on here? They troll and scour our local news outlets and police reports for salacious scoops, looking for anything that might further their anti-Florida agenda or confirm their bias.
[and he concludes with this. . .]
     We have the Everglades, our water sports are unparalleled, and what state has better animals than Florida? Key deer, Florida panthers, manatees, leatherback turtles, bobcats, thriving populations of escaped exotic birds, alligators … we have it all.
     I could go on. Florida has many great qualities, but you’d never know it from reading the Internet. This is a call to change the conversation.
     Our visitors come down here, swim with our dolphins, ride our rides, fill our parking spaces, and freely partake of our tropical bounty. We welcome them with open arms.
     I have a message for the Florida-haters out there who present a false negative image of our fair state: Enough already. Move on. Or, at the very least, find another state to pick on.

[UPDATE] How much water for the new WPB baseball stadium complex and coming from where?

[UPDATE: Interestingly, this short item from Tony Doris was the most viewed post of the week; maybe we'll learn more about this at a later date.]

This is short item in the West Palm Beat by Tony Doris:
     West Palm Beach’s budding baseball fields will get the water they need to stay green, under an agreement approved by the directors of a water reclamation plant a mile away.
     The Ball Park of the Palm Beaches stadium and spring training fields for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros are set to open on Haverhill Road near 45th Street in 2017. That means engineers at the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility will have to hustle to design and build a mile-long pipeline along an FPL right-of-way to provide recycled wastewater to irrigate the fields and a 12-acre city park, and several multi-purpose public fields also on the tract.
How much water will they need?
     Plant officials estimate the property will require 1.1 million gallons per day during the initial period when the fields are growing-in, and typically 800,000 gallons a day thereafter.

In Palm Beach County: A community the size of Lake Worth to be built west of Royal Palm Beach

Wayne Washington has an article on the front page, above the fold, in the Post today titled, "South Florida's growth 'a reality,' builders say". Here is an excerpt:
     Portions of Palm Beach County today bear little resemblance to the county of decades ago. Long-time residents remember when all or parts of roadways like State Road 7 or Southern Boulevard were sleepy capillaries leading to farmland.
     Now, they are bustling arteries feeding commuters to huge subdivisions surrounded by grocery stores, shopping centers and schools.
     And in two more decades, changes in the county — particularly the northwest — could be just as profound.
     First on the horizon: the green-lighted project, formerly known as Minto West but now to be called Westlake, which will bring a community the size of Lake Worth to the rural area west of Royal Palm Beach: 4,500 homes and 2.1 million square feet of commercial and office development on six square miles on both sides of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road just north of Okeechobee Boulevard.
Note that 'Minto West' is now called 'Westlake'.

The Scout Guide, Palm Beach, Florida: "Scouting the Best of Local" features McMow Art Glass in Lake Worth

The Scout Guide features McMow Art Glass this week:
     It’s officially the middle of summer! We’re celebrating this Friday with MCMOW ART GLASS and learning all about their Top 5 Summer Essentials.
     Get ready to be inspired and to get hands-on with these summer must-haves. Locally owned MCMOW ART GLASS is a standout in our Palm Beach art scene, creating beautiful masterpieces and even teaching the tricks of the trade in summer classes. Be sure to check out this Scout Guide favorite!
This is a splendid image that appears in The Scout Guide.

Jeff Speck: "Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now"

Jeff Speck wrote this article for CityLab last October and it's just as current today as it will be a year from today. Hopefully not so much two years from now. Our friend at Walkable West Palm Beach (Jesse Bailey) got a major concession for wider bike lanes vis-à-vis the Flagler Bridge design by FDOT but there are many other victories needed. 

Below is the conclusion of Speck's article and I would strongly encourage everyone to read the entire essay:

     I believe that FDOT—and every DOT—is capable of reform, but experience suggests that this will only happen when enough people make a stink. [emphasis added] In Florida, we will be able to gauge the DOT's willingness to enter the reality-based community by how it responds to a proposal recently made to restripe Okeechobee Boulevard, a deadly state highway that cuts through downtown West Palm Beach. Its nine lanes separate the Palm Beach County Convention Center from everything that conventioneers walk to, and are a nightmare to walk across or beside. These lanes, of course, are 12 feet wide.
     What would happen if these lanes were reduced to 10-feet wide, as proposed? Three things. First, cars would drive more cautiously. Second, there would be roughly eight feet available on each side of the street for creating protected cycle lanes, buffered by solid curbs. Third, the presence of these bike lanes would make the sidewalks safer to walk along. All in all, an easy, relatively inexpensive win-win-win that DOT could fund tomorrow.
     But will they? Only if they are capable of reform. Let's find out. The agency's bike and pedestrian coordinator, Billy Hattaway, is one of the good ones. But does he have the power to move FDOT to a 10-foot standard?
     Moving beyond Florida, the task is clear. Our lives are currently being put at risk daily by fifty state DOTs and hundreds of county road commissions who mistakenly believe that high-speed street standards make our cities and towns safer. In my most considered opinion, these agencies have blood on their hands, and more than a little. There are many standards that they need to change, but the easiest and most important is probably the 12-foot lane. Armed with the facts, we can force this change. But only if we do it together.
     It's time to push this discussion to its logical conclusion. Until conflicting evidence can be mustered, the burden of proof now rests with the DOTs. Until they can document otherwise, every urban 12-foot lane that is not narrowed to 10 feet represents a form of criminal negligence; every injury and death, perhaps avoidable, not avoided—by choice.
     In the meantime, I welcome evidence to the contrary. We've shown them our studies; now let them show us theirs. Unless, of course, they've thrown them out.

This happened...

This photograph below by Bruce Bennett with caption appears in the on-line edition of The Palm Beach Post today (7/12). There are also other pictures of the rally.