Saturday, August 15, 2015

[PINNED POST] The Palm Beach Post's expert source for crime data

In tomorrow's paper The Palm Beach Post's Kevin Thompson is (likely) making a big splash with his story about 'crime' in Lake Worth. The Post's expert source for crime now is a website called NeighborhoodScout. Something dawned on me late last night and nagged me so much decided to do a little research. Guess what I found on NeighborhoodScout?
According to NeighborhoodScout, West Palm Beach is in the top 10 percent of Most Dangerous Cities in America.
Riviera Beach, according the Post's expert source, is more than twice as safe as West Palm Beach.
According to the Post's expert source it's more than twice as safe in Riviera Beach than it is in West Palm Beach. Should this information be published by the paper for tourists planning their next vacation?

Or is it all really about "Good Old Lake Worth"?

Will this video finally settle the debate? "Was the Civil War About Slavery?"

Colonel James T. Seidule published a YouTube video on August 10th that already has almost half a million hits.

About the video: What caused the Civil War? Did the North care about abolishing slavery? Did the South secede because of slavery? Or was it about something else entirely...perhaps states' rights? Colonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, settles the debate.

News you'll only see in The Lake Worth Herald: Lake Worth Mayor Triolo negotiates with PBSO

Below is good news about the little City of Lake Worth and PBSO; therefore the public is guaranteed to never see this published in The Palm Beach Post. Here is an excerpt from The Lake Worth Herald:
     While the vast majority of the major municipalities contracted with PBSO will see a 3 percent increase in their contract cost, Lake Worth will only see a one percent increase. 
     Lake Worth was notified of a three percent increase also. 
Mayor Pam Triolo took Lake Worth’s plight to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and explained, once again, the financial condition of the City. Bradshaw listened and agreed to a one percent increase for the next year. 
     The initial contract with the Sheriff’s Department has a cap on the price escalation for the first three years. The City is entering it’s eighth year contracting PBSO services and there is no cap on the amount the Sheriff can increase price of the contract. 
     Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO have worked with Lake Worth to help keep the cost of law enforcement in the City under control.

Miami-Dade officials take a trip to Denver, learn about public transportation

Brian Bandell at the South Florida Business Journal has this interesting news about a trip to Denver by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. What stands out is this quote by Mitchell Bierman, the chair of that chamber’s transportation committee:
“We are ripe for these kinds of improvements but in the last few years we haven’t gotten them off the ground,” Bierman said. “We are at a point where our traffic problems will have a negative impact on our ability to grow and attract new business and talent to our community because people don’t feel like the can thrive in a community where you have to have a car, and where a trip between home and work can take 90 minutes to two hours."
The article states that Denver used the model of public-private partnerships with "private developers" to create transit-oriented development (TOD) in that city.

That got me thinking. There's been discussion in Lake Worth of ways to link Palm Beach State College (in suburban Lake Worth), with the Tri-Rail Station, our City's downtown, and the Casino complex/municipal pool. Discussion focuses on what the City can do and most everyone knows Lake Worth is strapped for money right now. Thinking out of the box here: a public/private partnership to operate a trolley system in the City? If you recall this year's Street Painting Festival the shuttles that ran from the college and the Tri-Rail station were highly popular and very effective.

Historical revisionism and 'Confederate' flag rally in Plantation tomorrow (contingent from Loxahatchee going?)

Jess Swanson at the Broward New Times has this article on a 'Confederate' flag rally tomorrow. If you recall our good friends in Loxahatchee recently staged one of these rallies right here in Palm Beach County. From the New Times article:
     Chris Nicolaus used to drive around Fort Lauderdale with a Confederate flag proudly flapping on the antenna of his truck. But in the mornings, he’d find his vehicle had been keyed overnight. He started bringing the flag into his house in the evenings and putting it back up in the mornings, but that became too tedious, so he stopped. It’s a shame, Nicolaus says, because to him, the Confederate flag is an emblem of Southern culture, not racism.
     “For some people, it means one thing. For others, it means another,” Nicolaus tells New Times. The 35-year-old has lived in South Florida his whole life. “It might’ve meant something different 135 years ago, but for me it means that I’m Southern and enjoy fishing and hunting and being outdoors in the Everglades. We’re not the KKK.”
The flag being referred to is this one (a pleasant message from The Other Blogger [TOB]):
This flag, the 'southern cross' is confused with the authentic Confederate flag called the 'stars and bars' (See link in following paragraph).
The gentleman quoted in the article needs a history lesson. Here is an article about the 'Confederate' flag, a history much more recent than he's been led to believe.

Cool graphic from the Washington Post showing how much space cars take up on streets

Compared to other forms of transit.

Alligator hunting season begins today in Florida

Matt Mauney at the Orlando Sentinel has the news about this:
     Florida's statewide hunt begins Saturday.
The limited entry hunt starts at 5 p.m. Aug. 15 and runs through Nov. 1. Hunting usually occurs at night and in the early hours of the morning.
     The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gave out around 6,000 permits last year. The FWC website says about 5,000 permits will be awarded to approximately 10,000 applicants for the 2015 season.
     Several restrictions listed by FWC include feeding the gators, the use of traditional firearms, the use of baited hoots and using gig-equipped bang sticks.

Coming up September 1st at Compass: Social Security Administration Benefits Workshop for Same-Sex couples

Social Security Administration Benefits Workshop for Same-Sex couples here at Compass on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 7:00 p.m.

In light of the latest decision of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court of the United States, Congresswoman Rep. Lois Frankel and the Social Security Administration will host a discussion on how this decision will affect Social Security and other benefits for same-sex couples.

Seating is limited, please RSVP to charity.lewis2@mail.house.gov

For questions regarding this event, please contact the office of Congresswoman Lois Frankel at 561-998-9045.

Surfer in Lake Worth, FL, surfing near City's pier

Photo courtesy of James Stafford Photography

Friday, August 14, 2015

[UPDATE] The Post's Kevin Thompson 'Lake Worth crime' story ready for print edition

[UPDATE: The Post, it seems, has decided to make a big splash with Kevin Thompson's Lake Worth 'crime' story in the Sunday paper. Maybe next week the paper will do a story about crime in West Palm Beach using their expert source, NeighborhoodScout? According to NeighborhoodScout, West Palm Beach is in the top ten percent most dangerous cities in America.]

Now it's a matter of the story appearing on Saturday or if they're going for the big splash on Sunday like they did with the Joe Capozzi/crematorium one. You know the one where the smoke "curled into the sky, swallowing the tops of palm trees and tumbling down like a shroud" over the poor, hapless citizens of Lake Worth.

First though the oddest thing is Mr. Thompson is also the beat reporter for Greenacres. That city recently voted to merge their police department with PBSO and there is very little news/background on why they made that drastic decision. You would think the elected there all woke up one day and said, "Hey, let's hook up with PBSO!" and along they merrily went. What the public needs to know is why. Was it a spike in the crime rate? I think the public would be very interested in learning more about this, especially citizens in other cities rumored to be mulling a merge with PBSO.

There was a lot of back-and-forth between myself and NeighborhoodScout about their data that Thompson used. From the communications gleaned that Thompson, the Post, and others were also trying to figure out what was true, what was not true, and what simply was unknown. Here is the last post I published on all this.

What we do know is this: NeighborhoodScout crunched their numbers and came up with a score for Lake Worth. What we don't know is the data that was used prior to being 'crunched'. I hope to get that some day soon and share it with my readers.

I'll have more on this and excerpts from Thompson's article soon. Ultimately, all this boils down to the question, "What is the City of Lake Worth and what is unincorporated Palm Beach County". Does the reporter know that Palm Beach State College isn't in Lake Worth?

What we need to do as a community, the City, the CRA, the elected, city manager, staff, volunteer citizen groups, the business community, et al is clearly define for the confused citizens of our City the municipal boundaries we have within Palm Beach County. We are not helped one bit when we're lumped in with all those in the county who just happen to have a Lake Worth mailing address.

Then maybe the media, like NBC5/WPTV for instance, will get the message. No, this carjacking didn't happen in Lake Worth. Believe it or not, it happened in Greenacres. Not kidding.

U.S. Embassy opens in Havana, Cuba

[UPDATE] Pedalcyclists in the State of Florida: way too many fatalities occurring and what is FDOT's plan to solve it?

[UPDATE: Lulu Ramadan at the Post has this article which appeared today (8/14) on the front page. She interviews 'Rafael' Clemente (his name was misspelled, should be 'Raphael') and others for an excellent article about the dangers of bicycling here in south Florida. In a day or two will post some excerpts from the article. Below is a post from this blog on 8/7 on this very subject.]

Recently a West Palm Beach resident named Jesse Bailey scored a victory with FDOT concerning bike lanes for a new bridge being constructed. A significant victory in the fight for bicyclist safety. One of my Twitter followers however, Florida Massacre, sent me this troubling data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): "Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities".

First, here is how the NHTSA defines a 'pedalcyclist':
Pedalcyclists, as defined for this fact sheet, are bicyclists and other cyclists including riders of twowheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals. A traffic crash is defined as an incident that involved one or more motor vehicles where at least one vehicle was in transport and the crash originated on a public traffic way, such as a road or highway. Crashes that occurred on private property, including parking lots and driveways, are excluded. Pedalcyclist crashes in this fact sheet will not include bicycle wrecks that do not involve motor vehicles.
Here is the data from 2013 (note, we're only dealing with fatalities, not injuries):
  • Total of ALL traffic fatalities in the U.S.: 32,719 
  • Total pedalcyclist fatalities: 743
  • Percentage pedalcyclist fatalities of total: 2.3%
From the data you could see why the concerns of bicyclists, for example, wouldn't be a high priority for DOT's around the country. But now it gets interesting especially if you live in Florida. Of the 743 pedalcyclist fatalities in the U.S., 133 occurred here in Florida in 2013, or 18% of the total number.

Now for the scary part if you live in Florida, Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population (all states over 3%; 5 states had no fatalities):
  • Maine: 3.01%
  • New Hampshire: 3.02%
  • Louisiana: 3.03%
  • South Carolina: 3.14%
  • Oklahoma: 3.38%
  • California: 3.68%
  • Arizona: 4.68%
  • Total pedacyclist fatalities per million in the U.S.: 2.35%
  • Florida: 6.80%
I'm sure many explanations can be proffered for Florida's extremely high percentage of fatalities: climate, tourists, retirees, etc. But to not acknowledge Florida has a huge problem is delusional; and Florida's road designs are a large part of that. Take for example the recent sad death of Austin Gilliam here and another article from the Broward New Times about recent pedalcyclist deaths there.

I know many people will have something to say about this; feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

Wes Blackman performs magic: explains how it's done to the TV news

It was a fun night last night on Twitter.

The TV news was all over the place about the shooting of an intruder in 'Lantana'. Curious, went to the Post to see what they were reporting and this is what Julius Whigham II had to report:
     An unidentified resident shot and killed one intruder and injured a second one Thursday night south of town, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.
     The shootings took place on Hibiscus Tree Drive in the San Castle neighborhood south of Hypoluxo Road and east of Interstate 95.
Meanwhile the TV news is reporting the shooting took place in Lantana and one report even had Boynton Beach. I verified Mr. Whigham was correct and started Tweeting the news media, specifically all my good friends at CBS12/WPEC. One or two reporters Tweeted back they would verify the information.

Now for the magic. How did I know, after less than 2 minutes of research, that the location wasn't in Lantana? Explained, step by step:
  • Mr. Whigham provided the street: Hibiscus Tree Drive
  • Went to Google Maps
  • Zoomed in for a house number (street view)
  • Went to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser
  • Voilà! The first two numbers for the parcel were "00" (unincorporated Palm Beach County)
Not very hard is it?

Brian Kirsch to be Honored by the Gulf Stream Masonic Lodge #245 - Congratulations!

From Brian Kirsch on Facebook:
"I can't thank the people at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center and the members of the Gulfstream Masonic Lodge enough. For all that they have done for the Lake Worth Community, they are honoring me with an award. Thank You and I will work at making my best even better."

From A Guy on Clematis, Aaron Wormus—See what's coming for South Dixie Highway:

One of the things that is exciting is how the neighborhoods have come together. The Downtown Neighborhood Association, through Flamingo Park, Grandview Heights, SENA and all the neighborhoods in between are great champions for healthy development within their neighborhoods.

Over the last couple years Commissioner Paula Ryan and the El Cid Neighborhood Associations have worked very hard to raise money and create a plan which will transform South Dixie HWY from Okeechobee to Ablemarle. This is exciting stuff and next Tuesday, the 18th, we will see the first design concepts.

Event will be at Palm Beach Dramaworks from 6 to 8 pm.

More pushback against WPTV/Palm Beach Post on the "LINE OF FIRE: BULLETS, BADGES AND DEATH ON THE STREET"

Roger J. McCord of Boynton Beach echoes what I suspect is widespread discontent with WPTV and The Palm Beach Post's "LINE OF FIRE" story on PBSO. Lately both news outlets have been dialing it back and that's probably due to the public backlash they're experiencing. One concern out there, which Mr. McCord addresses, is the "atmosphere of distrust" it creates which does more to make our most at-risk neighborhoods even more unsafe. Here are two excerpts from Mr. McCord's Point of View in the Post:
     It would seem time for The Post and WPTV NewsChannel 5 to stop the attacks on the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw for doing their job and for defending themselves as needed in the process.
     There are internal review boards to evaluate any shootings, and it does not need to be overrun by public opinion — or condemned by publicity — to create an atmosphere of distrust in our local law enforcement, either municipalities or county. [emphasis added]
     Recently, a policeman was gunned down in Memphis while making a traffic stop.
     A much better investigation would be to research the number, or percentage, of arrests/incidents in which firearms are being carried illegally by convicted felons and juveniles roaming our streets. That report would create surprise and horror to readers, I suspect.
[and. . .]
     If the reporters had to be out stopping unknown people, at all hours of night and day — with no idea what type of weapon they might have to face or what type of attitude the “stoppee” might be carrying around — they might just decide to be more understanding of what a tough job it is.
     Palm Beach County is lucky to have a “top cop” with the experience and fortitude to make decisions, back up his officers, and try to make this a safe place to live.

Found Kitty, College Park Neighborhood in Lake Worth

This little cat has been found in College Park. No collar but it does look like she's had her ear tipped and her front paw was recently shaved, perhaps for an IV? If you know this kitty, maybe 2-3 yrs old and where she lives, please call 561-574-9830. She's extremely friendly so most likely not a feral.

Anti-GMO stance by environmental activists worsens climate change

Andrew Porterfield at the Genetic Literacy Project ("Where Science Trumps Ideology") has this article that's very critical of Greenpeace and other environmental groups. Here is an excerpt:
     As for helping to prevent climate change in the first place, GM has not been much of a slouch. Adopting GM technology has reduced pesticide spraying by nearly 9 percent. [emphasis added] This arises from replacing broad-range pesticides with glyphosate and in some cases 2,4D, reducing the volume of pesticides used and the fossil fuel needed to spray them.
     In addition, tillage, necessary for organic and some conventional farming, is usually not necessary for genetically modified crops. A Purdue University study found that no-till fields released 57 percent less nitrous oxide (another greenhouse gas) than fields that required tillage. Thus, less tillage sequesters more carbon and nitrogen in soil.
     Finally, genetic modifications produce crops that can get higher yields using less space. This means that less land needs to be disrupted—fewer trees are removed, more plants are preserved and less carbon is released (not to mention the carbon dioxide taken up by plants). The USDA recently found that organic agriculture would require almost twice and much land than is necessary using conventional methods (measured against GM crops, that number’s more dramatic. Organic agriculture would require an extra 121.7 million acres to grow all US-produced food—that’s an area the size of Spain.
Chipotle for lunch anyone?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Message received as a comment from NeighborhoodScout Customer Service Manager

[See below for more questions this response from NeighborhoodScout creates.]

Hello,

I work at NeighborhoodScout and wanted to point out that your assumption that our crime analytics includes a broader geographic unit than the City of Lake Worth is incorrect. If you had read our Crime FAQs, you would have read this specific FAQ that corrects your misrepresentation of our data: 
“Q. The map on the city page looks like it covers a broader area than the city. Does this mean the crimes used for this report come from a broader area than the city limits?
A. Our map may show census tracts (neighborhoods) assigned to a city for visual purposes, based on a spatial overlay of census tracts to municipal boundaries. Rest assured the data used for the development of these reports are the crimes that occurred within the city limits, along with the population of the city.”
So to clarify, although the map shows surrounding unincorporated areas, only the crime incidents and population of Lake Worth are included in our crime risk analysis.

NeighborhoodScout does not state there is a one in 14 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime or property crime in Lake Worth. We also do not report this as a combined statistic. Considering ONLY the crimes and the population living in Lake Worth, (and not the unincorporated areas you mentioned) there is a one in 78 chance of being a victim of violent crime, and a one in 17 chance of being a victim of property crime.

If you are ever curious about our crime risk assessments, our customer service representatives are very knowledgeable and trained to answer any questions you may have. We wish you would have reached out to us first. 

-Desiree C.
NeighborhoodScout Customer Service Manager 

[I've sent a message to NeighborhoodScout requesting more information. Would very much like to know where they got their information from (Palm Beach County Sheriff? FDLE?) vis-à-vis crime stats and crime locations, specifically zip code 33461. When I get that information will post that here.

This is a question, for example, an area that is outside the City of Lake Worth:

"THIS PLACE STILL MATTERS!!" Rally to save the old Boynton Beach High School

Hello All Old High School supporters!! 
Please come, wear a black shirt, bring a big sign saying 
"THIS PLACE STILL MATTERS!!" 
and bring all your friends!!! 

If any of you have any press connections, please feel free to invite them!!

WHAT: THIS PLACE STILL MATTERS!!!!!

WHEN: SATURDAY 8/15 3:00

WHERE: OLD BOYNTON HIGH SCHOOL, OCEAN AVE., BOYNTON BEACH

WHY: CITIZENS AGAINST DEMOLITION OF THE OLD HIGH SCHOOL!!!!

From a regular reader comes this from Palm Beach Gardens

This is a Palm Beach Gardens municipal work truck with the initials and insignia "WOW." This stands for their Workers on Watch program. We are getting more information on this, but the concept is that municipal workers can be "eyes and ears" while doing their jobs in the city. If they see something, they say something. It is my recollection that Lake Worth was promoting this for a while, not sure if it is still on-going. If anyone knows for sure, please comment below. It would be a good supplement to our neighborhood watch program.

This Saturday in downtown Lake Worth: Screen on the Green with Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Here is an excerpt from The Lake Worth Herald this week along with the accompanying image for the family event this Saturday:
LULA Lake Worth Arts and the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) present the final Screen on the Green in this Summer’s Outdoor Film series in the Cultural Plaza, Downtown Lake Worth on Saturday, Aug. 15. The Neighborhood Association Presidents Council (NAPC) will be there to once again hosting their Front Porch in the Plaza welcoming new friends and neighbors from all over the City to relax and enjoy the original version of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder and the Oompa Loompas. 

The real estate site NeighborhoodScout, The Palm Beach Post, and flawed data: Garbage In Garbage Out

There is crime in the City of Lake Worth. And if you've been paying any attention to the news in Palm Beach County (PBC) there is crime in other cities as well; West Palm Beach and their recent issues come to mind. Crime is news and no one is suggesting the media ignore it. However, the public is not served when the media misrepresents, misreports, and distorts important issues as crime like The Palm Beach Post did recently.

Here is an excerpt from the original article by Kevin D. Thompson on August 7th:
     NeighborhoodScout recently listed the 10 most dangerous cities in the state, with Lake Worth coming in at — drum roll, please! — No. 4., beating out Riviera Beach, listed at No. 7
     The site said there is a one in 14 chance of being the victim of a violent or property-related crime in Lake Worth.
     The site said it researched all 17,000 reporting agencies for its data and factored in the size of the population.
NeighborhoodScout is a perfect example of data collection and the principle of Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO). Lake Worth is only 6 square miles but look at what they include, vast areas of unincorporated PBC:
The City of Lake Worth is 6 square miles in Palm Beach County (shaded light blue, center/right side in image). NeighborhoodScout included all the other shaded areas inaccurately/unfairly as "Lake Worth".
Andrew Schiller, the CEO of NeighborhoodScout wrote this on his site:
“With this report on the most dangerous cities, what we’re seeing is a really different picture of the types of locations that have the highest violent crime from what many people expect”
Good point, Mr. Schiller. Here is more from NeighborhoodScout:
Developing a reliable measure of a city’s safety, especially if you’re comparing them, requires a full count of the total number and types of violent crimes in each city, and getting the cities on a level playing field for comparison.
From the flawed data in NeighborhoodScout they ranked Lake Worth as the 34th most dangerous city in the U.S. Then Victoria Winkler from OnlyInYourState used the flawed data to rank Lake Worth as the 4th most dangerous city in Florida (ahead of Miami [population 400,000] at #5):
Then Thompson at the Post picked up the 'story':
We're left to wonder, since the data is proven flawed, why is the Post proceeding with the story for this weekend? Possibly Sunday's paper? Here is an excerpt from the article in the works:
LAKE WORTH — The numbers aren’t pretty.
     With a crime rate of 71 per one thousand residents, Lake Worth (the city and its suburban surroundings) has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to communities of all sizes, according to the real estate website, NeighborhoodScout.com.
To be fair to their readers the Post should include a map showing the "suburban surroundings" they falsely label as 'Lake Worth' along with the actual borders of the City; a map like this one:

From WPTV: Coworking space wanted in downtown West Palm Beach

And the example they use is the Social House in Lake Worth! It's gratifying to know that Lake Worth has something that West Palm Beach doesn't. Click here for link to article.
     “We have four offices, we have six desks,” explained Laura McGlynn owner of Social House in Lake Worth. “Then we have 20 that we're maxing out at for our shared open area space.”
     Social House is just one example of a coworking space that provides areas for professionals to hold meetings in a polished space and they also provide a community. "Being able to have a place to come out and meet other people and network with other people, referral opportunities," McGlynn said.
If you have been there and work out of the space occasionally, share your experience in the comments below or send me an email.

A message from the Palm Beach County Sheriff


Earl Stewart's Thought of the Day: DOGS ON BEACH DIGGING UP TURTLE NESTS!

The Toyota dealer, from Facebook:

"I was distressed to learn on this morning's news that Delray is considering allowing dogs to run free on the beach without a leash.

In Jupiter Inlet Colony where I live, the city commission recently changed the law to allow this very same thing. As a consequence I've seen many turtle nests that were dug up by dogs whose owners allowed to run free and not under their control. I suggested to our mayor, Dan Comerford, that we should restrict dogs to leashes on the beach, at least during the turtle season.

No one loves dogs more than I but, I also love sea turtles. Baby turtles have a hard enough time surviving with their natural enemies like crows and raccoons without having to contend with our pet dogs."

Eliot Kleinberg—that terrible day in Palm Beach County, September 16, 1928

Eliot Kleinberg wrote a book about this day in Palm Beach County called, "Black Cloud: The Great Hurricane of 1928". It's called the 1928 Hurricane because this was before the naming of storms began. There was the 1926 Hurricane also. There is a mass burial site in West Palm Beach where many victims of the 1928 Hurricane are buried. (They took special care back then to make sure that bodies of Black and White people were put in the correct mass grave.)

Last year Mr. Kleinberg wrote this article in The Palm Beach Post; a not-so-gentle reminder of what's possible this coming Hurricane Season here in south Florida:
     That day, a massive hurricane smashed the coastline from the Treasure Coast to Miami, then moved inland and washed out what then was a flimsy dike around Lake Okeechobee, sending a wall of water into the countryside. The official death toll is 2,500, but it could be as high as 3,000. [emphasis added]
     With 86 years now having passed, finding anyone who survived the storm, and was old enough at the time to have any memories now, has become nearly an impossible task. We were thrilled when longtime reader John Weigand of Delray Beach directed us to retired shop teacher Leslie Douglas, now living in Ocala.
     Douglas, who turned a spry 96 in February, was born in Jacksonville; his father, an electrical contractor, moved a wife and four young children in 1925 to a home along Federal Highway in Lake Worth.
     Three years later, the big storm approached. Young Leslie, then 10, and his siblings helped his father nail three-quarter inch plywood to the windows.
     Soon the wind was roaring, perhaps as much as 50 to 60 mph.
     “I remember very well being flattened,” Douglas recalled last month from his home. He said he felt like “a human kite.”
     Soon the storm was on; “it was almost like a fire siren,” Douglas said. “The trees shook. The house shook.”
     For as much as four hours, he recalled, his mother, “94 pounds of her, was sitting in the high chair with her fingers in her ears. We could see a lot of things going by.”
     When the storm had passed, Douglas recalled, “our little bungalow was not touched.”
     Much of the region hadn’t been as lucky. Douglas recalled victims being brought by the truckload to the iconic Gulf Stream Hotel in downtown Lake Worth, where his father had helped organize a relief command post. Some were alive, but “didn’t have anything. I’m talking about nothing but the shirt on their back.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The End Times is Old News: but it's really good for blog traffic! And about the Great Disappointment of 1844

Another in a long line of hysterical stories from The Obtuse Blogger (TOB).
There is really a website called the End Times Headlines: "News and Headlines from a Prophetic Perspective". Lake Worth pastor Olive was featured there when he was promoting his 'war on religion'.
The End Times is good for generating blog traffic. You can't have a serious discussion about the End Times though without a little dose of hysteria. It's sort of a package deal; you can't have one without the other. The Wikipedia page dealing with the End Times is a very long one starting well before the New Testament

On the Wikipedia page is a very interesting article about William Miller's Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844, when the world failed to come to an end as hoped for:
Both Millerite [followers of William Miller] leaders and followers were left generally bewildered and disillusioned. Responses varied: some continued to look daily for Christ's return, while others predicted different dates—among them April, July, and October 1845. Some theorized that the world had entered the seventh millennium—the "Great Sabbath", and that therefore, the saved should not work. Others acted as children, basing their belief on Jesus' words in Mark 10:15: "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." Millerite O. J. D. Pickands used Revelation to teach that Christ was now sitting on a white cloud and must be prayed down. Probably the majority, however, simply gave up their beliefs and attempted to rebuild their lives. Some members rejoined their previous denominations. A substantial number joined the Shakers.
PBS' Paul Boyer on Frontline did a story on believers of the End Times (also called 'apocalypticism'), specifically about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians:
     I think doomsday cults are very significant. I see them in some ways like the canaries that used to be taken down into coal mines. If the canary died, you knew that there was a buildup of dangerous gases and you'd better be careful. It seems to me that doomsday cults tell us something about a contemporary cultural climate of anxiety, of apprehension, of uneasiness about trends in our contemporary world. And some groups, usually under the influence of a very charismatic and potent sort of leader, withdraw from the larger society and act on their belief system in a quite literal and sometimes catastrophic fashion[emphasis added]
The End Times, apocalypticism, or the 'doomsday', whatever you wish to call it is nothing new. It's a "climate of anxiety" being manipulated by some very clever people.

Emerson Lotzia with awesome Lake Worth sports segment last night (8/11) on NBC5/WPTV

About the video: Twin brothers Malique and Tarique Akbar anchor the Lake Worth Trojans football defense.

Thank you Emerson Lotzia and look forward to more of your local high school football coverage this season.

Commissioner Ryan Maier, Lake Worth's Mr. Cellophane

According to an article yesterday by Kevin D. Thompson of the Palm Beach Post, the city has dropped the code case against Commissioner Maier due to lack of evidence. The charge involved a claim that Mr. Maier had converted his single family home into a duplex and was renting out an apartment there.

You might be interested to know what some of that evidence was. All these documents are part of the public record.
From June of this year, Ryan Maier's tenant applied to adopt a pet at the 609 2nd Avenue South address.
Remember this from the campaign trail?
Inspection record from 2008 when Mr. Maier purchased the home. Note that there was only one bathroom.
Here is the floor plan as part of the same inspection done at the time:
It is my understanding that Maier refused entry to code enforcement officers claiming, rightly, that they could not enter his homesteaded residence. Allowing this inspection would remove all doubt, however. As someone who campaigned on complete transparency and wanting more. . .
So much for setting the tone of transparency and openness.
What then does the city say to a property owner who is surprised to find that they have a code enforcement lien on their property of over $100,000 for not having a shade tree in their front lawn? I guess they say nothing.

Debunked: The Palm Beach Post's Kevin D. Thompson article about crime in 'Lake Worth'

Below is the map from Neighborhood Scout that Post reporter Kevin Thompson uses as proof of how much 'crime' there is in the City of Lake Worth. See the blog post following for more information on this story:
The 'City' of Lake Worth is that tiny area shaded light blue on the right, in the center of image.
As suspected, the 'data' about crime in Lake Worth includes mostly areas in suburban Lake Worth. The zip codes used are 33460, 33461, 33462, 33463, and 33467. The City of Lake Worth has two zip codes: 33460 and a small part of 33461.

Here from the City of Lake Worth are the actual boundaries of the City.

Check back tomorrow for more on this flawed story The Palm Beach Post is planning on publishing this week.

Reminding people about overall drop in crime since PBSO came to Lake Worth; and that Kevin Thompson Tweet

Here's what The Palm Beach Post's Kevin Thompson wrote about the City of Lake Worth:
     In a recent Nerd Wallet survey, the city was ranked as one of the best in Florida for young families.
     Well, according to another survey,
those families may want to stay inside and lock their doors.
Very charming, isn't it? Here is the Tweet Mr. Thompson sent out after discovering this 'news' about Lake Worth:
Nice graphic. The story here is that this is bogus news. The crime data includes crimes outside the City in suburban Lake Worth, or as some call, unincorporated Palm Beach County (more on this tomorrow). Here is where Mr. Thompson found his information about 'crime' in Lake Worth. Victoria Winkler, the 'crime expert' the reporter sites also has these highly important journalistic articles about the state of Florida.

The real story not being reported on by The Palm Beach Post is the amount of crime in Greenacres and why they decided to merge their police department with PBSO. Why is that being ignored?

How about a nice stroll down memory lane? Go to the 8:00 minute mark in the video below for a glimpse of Lake Worth prior to PBSO taking over:
Feast your eyes on real data about crime in Lake Worth instead of reporting inaccurate items found trolling the web for Lake Worth 'news':

From SFBJ: "Rehab center coming to Belle Glade will create 225 jobs"

Congratulations to the city of Belle Glade. This news from the South Florida Business Journal (SFBJ) is welcome news for their community. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     The East Coast version of California's Passages Malibu is coming to South Florida, and it's expected to create hundreds of high-wage jobs.
      Passages is a holistic treatment company that uses a 12-step program to help those battling addiction and eating disorders, and it's transforming the 100,000-square-foot site of the former Glades General into Passages Belle Glade.
     The rehabilitation center at 1201 S. Main Street in Belle Glade will also provide behavioral treatment for juveniles. It's expected to open in 2016 with about 225 workers, according to the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County. Employees at Passages Belle Glade will be paid a rate above the city's average wage, the economic development organization added.

What you need to know about the 'Oath Keepers' and Elmer Stewart Rhodes

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has this information in their Extremist Files about the 'Oath Keepers' that have been in the news lately, vis-à-vis Ferguson MO:
     Yale Law School graduate Stewart Rhodes in 2009 founded the far-right Oath Keepers, a fiercely antigovernment, militaristic group that improbably claims more than 30,000 law enforcement officers, soldiers and military veterans as members. The core idea of the group is that its members vow to forever support the oaths they took on joining law enforcement or the military to defend the Constitution. But just as central is the group’s list of 10 “Orders We Will Not Obey,” a compendium of much-feared but entirely imaginary threats from the government — orders, for instance, to force Americans into concentration camps, confiscate their guns, or cooperate with foreign troops in the United States.
[and. . .]
In 2013, the group took on a more aggressive stance, announcing the planned formation of “Citizen Preservation” militias meant to defend Americans against the New World Order.
Read about the New World Order here, one of the most creative of all conspiracy theories ever created.

Shipt coming to Palm Beach County: On-Demand Grocery Shopping from a Publix near you


Here is an excerpt from the text of Eric Weiss at NBC5/WPTV:
     How would you like to order groceries on your phone and have them delivered to your door? Now there's an app for that.
     A company called Shipt is launching a Publix grocery delivery service in South Florida next week.
     The service starts Aug. 18 and will operate from West Palm Beach to Miami. A company representative says there are currently no plans to expand into the Treasure Coast.
      Members have to join the service, which costs $49 per year if you sign up during their current early bird promotion. In return, Shipt says you will get unlimited deliveries on orders over $35.

Climate Change and Preservation: Where Do They Intersect? Or do they? From the PreservationNation blog

Click title for link to an article about sea level rise, climate change and the potential impact to historic buildings. Below is an excerpt from the piece that talks about novel approaches to address possible threats to those structures in low-lying locations:
In 2014, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) named 30 landmarks across the country that could face irreparable damage or be lost forever due to climate change. Moving forward, we will be partnering with them to save these and other historic places. To do so, we may have to consider novel approaches, such as moving buildings, raising them up, or implementing creative waterproofing and reinforcements to help them withstand flooding.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

[RE-POST] Crime | Downtown Lake Worth FL | Another THEFT/LARCENY

This is one of my all-time favorite crimes featured by The Other Blogger (TOB): The famously funny & popular theft/larceny of ketchup in downtown Lake Worth. Read more here:
In the image below a witness to the incident explains:
This particular ketchup heist that TOB shared with her readers is in addition to all those "Beverage Violations", neighbor complaints, child issues, 'crimes' listed as "Other", crimes in unincorporated Palm Beach County she mistakes for the City, and the oft-mentioned 'vehicle burglaries' which more often than not are residents NOT LOCKING THE DOORS!

Those long lists of crime by TOB are impressiveunless, of course, you take the time to read them all.

Question: Will we ever reclaim our downtown from the ketchup & jelly thieves?

Nice recognition by State Representative Dave Kerner. Suitable for framing!

About the All Aboard Florida Station being constructed in West Palm Beach

     The All Aboard Florida West Palm Beach station has a lot to offer residents and tourists. The 60,000 square foot station will include apartments with direct access to the station. There will be a 23 story apartment complex within the station. From the West Palm Beach station visitors can get to Miami in 1 hour, Fort Lauderdale in 30 minutes, and Orlando in 2 hours. This station will provide $164 million in economic impact for Palm Beach County through 2021. The West Palm Beach All Aboard Florida station will also provide 1,200+ new jobs in Palm Beach county through the construction of the station and rail line. This station is also within walking distance to City Place, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and Clematis Street.

Congratulations Greenacres! And Kevin Thompson's opening paragraphs of same story: on-line versus print editions

Congratulations to Greenacres for making what had to be a hard, but necessary, decision. Their city commission voted to merge with PBSO last night; it was a 4 to 1 vote. No doubt the great work PBSO does in Lake Worth made their decision easier.

Now to The Palm Beach Post's Kevin Thompson article about the PBSO vote in Greenacres; here is the first paragraph in the on-line edition:
The city’s law-enforcement officers next year will trade in their dark blue uniforms for money-green outfits.
Money-green? Here is how the paragraph reads in the print edition:
The city’s law-enforcement officers next year will trade in their dark blue uniforms for forest-green outfits.
Anyhow, here is another excerpt that explains why Greenacres decided to merge with PBSO:
     Councilwoman Lisa Rivera said the move was long overdue.
     “Our police department is incredibly understaffed,” she said. “The department is used as a training ground to gain knowledge and experience. We want officers to stay with our city, and we can no longer afford (to operate) a small-town police department.”
The PBSO critics in Lake Worth that continue to fantasize about our City having its own PD can never find a way to solve this problem: if we recruit and train new officers and can't afford to pay them what PBSO pays then all the good ones will leave after they get experience and we'll be left with the rest who PBSO isn't interested in.

That's a big problem.

[RE-POST BY REQUEST] Sheriff Bradshaw made a video: now the Post and WPTV are going bananas

PBSO Sheriff Bradshaw couldn't attend the PBA’s 8th Annual Police Officer’s Ball so he uploaded a video for them.

NBC5/WPTV and The Palm Beach Post have been off the rails ever since they got hold of the video. They are handwringing because Sheriff Bradshaw mentioned them by name vis-à-vis the LINE OF FIRE: BULLETS, BADGES AND DEATH ON THE STREET!. Seems to me they have no problem criticizing PBSO but get very sensitive when the table is turned. Bradshaw is fighting back and defending his organization and deputies; what's wrong with that?

Watch the video and decide for yourself:
An added thought, now that the city of Greenacres has voted to merge with PBSO do the Anarchists in Lake Worth still stand behind their sign at last October's anti-PBSO protest? You can read about that protest here.
This sign was at the protest organized by EarthFirst! against PBSO last year.

The Bamboo Room in Lake Worth, FL: LGBT Social on Sunday (8/16)

The Bamboo Room, sad to say, has been the recent target of a nasty anonymous email campaign. So whatever your particular situation or persuasion show up and support businesses that are investing in our City. We don't need this anti-business nonsense in the tolerant little City of Lake Worth.

Niccolo Machiavelli

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. ”

Is anyone doing this for our restaurants in El Dub?

Imagine if there were five or six Tweets a day about our restaurants in downtown Lake Worth? Maybe from the 'Lake Worth Visitor Center'? Just a thought. Below is a Tweet promoting Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach:

Billboards: Another lawsuit settled in the little City of Lake Worth


The final vote was 4-1 with Commissioner McVoy dissenting.

From last Tuesday's City Commission meeting: More evidence that the adults are in charge now

This has to do with the collection of franchise fees by property owners that have been annexed into Palm Springs from unincorporated Palm Beach County. It turns out that the City was still collecting the same, higher fees, from those properties after annexation and ends up owing Palm Springs funds the difference. It was a long-standing situation, sort of a junior version of the municipal sewer billing fiasco. The solution the Commission came up with was to allow for an amortization period where they can pay what is owed over time, and the City will pass this on to Palm Springs. There will still be some back and forth, but it is good to see the spirit in which this problem was dealt withcooperatively.

Sad the people of Loxahatchee FL are in the national spotlight due to this nonsense

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been mapping 'Confederate flag' (which is actually the 'Confederate Battle' flag) rallies around the country and there was only one in south Florida: Loxahatchee in Palm Beach County, Florida!
Image from the SPLC website.
Here is what the SPLC is attempting to accomplish:
     The Southern Poverty Law Center compiled the information in this map from lists created by other human rights organizations, hate groups and its own research in order to give a sense of the size of this reactionary movement. When available, event organizers, hate groups and key members involved, source information and crowd sizes at past events have been included. When not explicitly reported by credible news sources, the number of attendees has been estimated from photos and video evidence. Our hope is that the map will serve as an interactive resource for those seeking to understand the scope of the forces supporting the embattled flag.
Then there is the cadre of bully bloggers who provide the flag supporters the encouragement to continue:
The flag shown above is not the 'Confederate' flag. The link in the paragraph below explains the public confusion about this issue.
For those interested, here is the difference between the "stars and bars" and the "southern cross". The 'southern cross' is a re-purposed flag found in a museum by the Dixiecrats responding to the civil rights movement in the middle 20th century.

From the Broward County MPO: Complete Streets 2015 and TIGER VII Grant Application

The Broward County Metropolitan Planning Oganization (MPO) has this information on their TIGER Grant application process:

     The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (Broward MPO) is applying for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant to leverage existing local funds to construct bicycle and pedestrian facilities which provide transportation connections and promote safety throughout the Broward Region.
     This effort builds upon the Broward MPO’s Complete Streets Initiative committing $100 million of funds over the next five years to construct an additional 90 miles of bicycle facilities and approximately 35 miles of sidewalks along Broward’s existing roadways.
     Nearly 250 bicyclists and pedestrians were killed on Broward’s roadways between 2011 and 2014. [emphasis added] This project will provide for safe bicycle and pedestrian routes to complete an integrated system of multimodal facilities connecting major commercial, residential, educational and recreational facilities in the region.
     Consistent with the vision of the Broward MPO, the proposed network will serve the needs of all users: people who drive, bicycle, walk, and ride transit, including those covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Surfside Hotel 130 Hammon Avenue. Palm Beach circa early 1960s

Today via Google Maps Street View

Monday, August 10, 2015

[Another look] The Obtuse Bloggers (TOB's) Amazing Political Transformation

TOB loved President Barack Obama and then something happened.
Now she hates President Obama.
What happened to the poor woman? Why is her heart so filled with hate?
Was she radicalized? What turned her heart so cold?

"Angry black men"? Who is the angry one?

Murder of Woodley Erilas still unsolved; callous 'journalist' tried to exploit crime for personal cause célèbre

The murder of Woodley Erilas on January 9th in Lake Worth (900 block of North 'H' Street) remains unsolved and the family continues looking for leads. They want anyone with information about his death to call Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS; the family is also offering a reward for information.

This family's loss was unfathomable but what happened later was terribly insensitive to the grieving family and friends of the deceased. A self-described 'journalist/editor' attempted to turn this senseless crime into her own personal cause célèbre for charter schools and promoting her odd theories on education of children.

Following is an excerpt from a blog post on January 22 titled, A life lost due to an uncapitalized "i"?:

I wish to offer my most sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Erilas and to also apologize for the callous and insensitive editor/journalist Margaret Menge. She seems to think that if this young man had the benefit of a charter school education, such as one requiring Latin be taught (beginning in the fourth grade) this tragic event somehow would not have happened.

For some illogical reason, Margaret Menge, in her reporting on Mr. Erilas' untimely death (Lake Worth Tribune, January 16th) felt it necessary to add the "Summary on his [Woodley Erilas'] LinkedIn page". It's only a little bit "insensitive" to look at a deceased person's LinkedIn page, isn't it?

But, here in all its glory for the world to see is what Mr. Erilas wrote on his LinkedIn page, courtesy of the Premiere Edition of the Lake Worth Tribune"My Objective is not only to learn as much as i can [. . .]". Margaret Menge reserved her anger not for Mr. Erilas' passing but instead for Mr. Erilas' use of the uncapitalized "i". At no time does Menge offer any condolences to the family or the friends of Mr. Erilas. 

Then she chooses to connect the dots in a way that revolves back to her "cause" of ubiquitous charter schools and giving those with resources a chance for a tailored education of their choosing. The 'news' story about Mr. Erilas is on page 2 of Menge's 'newspaper'. When you get to page 6, the Opinion page and Menge's Letter From the Editor, Mr. Erilas' sad passing becomes a twisted logic lesson: A + B = C

A (Mr. Erilas) + B (Charter School) = C (if Mr. Erilas went to a Charter School, he would alive today)

Menge's failed dream is to start a Charter School teaching a classic curriculum, including Latin. Her dream was denied and she angrily lashes out in her 'editorial', manipulating the somber death of a young man, an uncapitalized "i", and her hatred of the Palm Beach County School Board to write this:

By Margaret Menge, Editor & Publisher: "He [Mr. Erilas] doesn't understand what a sentence is, and when to use capitalization. So he couldn't get a job. So he was living with his [M]other on North H Street, walking around in the dead of the night, and someone shot him."

We are left to conclude that, per the logic of Ms. Menge, but for an uncapitalized "i", Mr. Erilas wouldn't have been walking the street that early morning. Really? Let's ponder what the real reason is for the death of a young man that happened on that morning and the state of a system that allows young men with promise be taken away by a single act of senselessness. I don't think that speaking Latin, or capitalizing an "i", would have altered the trajectory of these events for the victim.

Rest in peace, Woodley Erilas, and May God Be With You. Let's hope that the perpetrator is ultimately found and brought to justice.