Saturday, October 31, 2015

City of Lake Worth beefing up its Code Enforcement Department after being gutted by previous city commission

It's taken a while since former City Manager Susan Stanton gutted the Code Enforcement Dept. and it's taken a herculean effort to bring it back to a level of effectiveness. It was a terrible mistake she made and it's one of the main reasons she was fired in December 2011. Stanton admitted how badly she erred and under whose direction she was acting to a Lake Worth resident who recalled a conversation he had with her:
The image above is from The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) who believes Susan Stanton was the best city manager Lake Worth ever had. Stanton was fired on December 6, 2011.
How much things have changed in under 4 years! A remarkable turnaround for a department that had to be rebuilt after being gutted. In the City's Worth Noting newsletter is this information on the beefed up department. Here is an excerpt:

     For years, bringing properties into compliance with Lake Worth codes has been a challenge. Suffering from 1,000s of vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties, years of deferred maintenance, and absentee landlords and property owners; the City’s overall character had become severely blighted. [emphasis added] Code Compliance also was attempting to manage hundreds of ongoing violations with properties running in fine to the tune of millions of dollars. The reputation of the Code Compliance Division was tattered and demoralizing.Drastic, proactive, and concerted efforts were required to turn the tide and reinvigorate and revitalize the city.
     Beginning in 2012, the City adopted a series of ordinances (laws) to address the many neglected properties. A Chronic Nuisance Program including Remediation for lot clearings, board & secures and demolitions was adopted. This program allows for the City to recoup its expenditures to undertake these activities by attaching the unpaid costs to the property owner’s tax cards. This attachment guarantees that the City will eventually be paid. The Code Compliance Division was reorganized and appropriately staffed and trained. Today, every officer has a certification from the Florida Association of Code Enforcement (FACE). Proactive positive customer service has become a priority. Other changes were made to streamline and encourage investment in the City and to resolve outstanding code violations. All were systematically implemented to support a full on attack of the deteriorating condition of the city.

To sign up for the City's newsletter use this link.

Lake Worth has a problem and why that's very good news: Valet parking in the downtown (City Commission meeting on 10/20)

There's no need to watch the entire 10-minute video from the City Commission, second reading, about valet parking on Lake Ave. in the downtown. I'll point out some important segments to watch. This would be concerning mostly the area near the Lake Worth Playhouse and some other parking spots along the avenue during peak parking times.

This 'problem', if you will, demonstrates how popular downtown Lake Worth has become and it's a problem our City would have prayed for just a few years go.

At the 4:405:20 mark City Manager Bornstein explains why valet parking is so popular with customers and it's turned into a "free for all" with establishments wanting to offer the service. The problem is this: the FDOT has control with what happens on Lake Ave. and to put it simply, they want their lease money for the use of those spots.

At the 7:158:50 mark the City Manager explains to Commissioner McVoy why valet parking is important; apparently, the commissioner is having trouble grasping the concept of valet and how effective it is getting customers into town and their cars moved to another location. McVoy grasps for potential problems that may occur and Bornstein sums it up by saying, "can't cover every scenario". 

At the 10:00 mark Commissioner Amoroso sums up the valet parking issue quite succinctly and accurately. The vote was 4 to 1; is it necessary to tell you who the lone dissenting vote was?

The Lake Worth CRA is pleased to announce "Discovering Our New World: Immigrant Children’s Look at Lake Worth"

Exciting news: the Armory Art Center's Grand Opening is November 12th.
In partnership with the City of Lake Worth, the Armory Annex, the Palm Beach Photographic Center, the Guatemalan-Maya Center and LULA, the CRA is thrilled to announce the opening of the Discovering Our New WorldImmigrant Children’s Look at Lake Worth and the Armory Arts Annex Grand Opening at the Lake Worth Arts Center on Nov. 12, from 69 pm.

Read more about this event here. You do not want to miss this one of a kind exhibit that features 50 prints from our very own local teens who are recent immigrants from Central America. Here is an excerpt:

     The Armory Annex in Lake Worth reopens its doors to host Discovering Our New World. For this photographic exhibit the Armory is privileged to collaborate with the renowned Palm Beach Photographic Centre of West Palm Beach. The show is part of the Photographic Centre’s Picture My World program.
     Images were selected from hundreds made over a nine-month period in which the teens, all recent immigrants from Central America, and their mentors met weekly to explore their new home of Lake Worth. Fifty photographic prints are accompanied by journal entries in English and Spanish. The entries provide insight into the children’s perilous journey to be reunited with family members.
     The Armory is fortunate to have use of the Annex building through the Lake Worth CRA for the purpose of enhancing the Lake Worth arts community.

Save the Date: 3rd Annual NAPC Thanksgiving Banquet and Food Drive

Save the date: Saturday, November 14th
Here is a link to learn more about this wonderful event. To learn more about the Neighborhood Association Presidents Council use this link and here is a link to their Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!

While this beautiful witch appears to be floating in mid air, she is actually submerged in the crystal clear water of Rainbow Springs near Dunnellon. Image from the State Archives of Florida.

Horror: Coming to your community this Sunday Morning, 2 a.m.! (Unless you live in Arizona)

Read about Arizona and Daylight Savings time.

Bill DiPaolo and "Shark Tank, Palm Beach County style, coming in March"

This news originally appeared in The Lake Worth Herald, the 10/15 issue; you can read about that here. Cities like Lake Worth can particularly benefit from this innovative idea that Palm Beach County (PBC) philanthropists have come up with. Remember, although Lake Worth is recovering quite well from the Great Recession there is still a long way to go. There are 38 cities in PBC and only two of them came out of the recession in worse shape than Lake Worth. Yes, it was that bad.

So put on your thinking caps you students in Lake Worth. Look around with a critical eye and come up with an innovative idea to help your neighborhood and City. It might be a student from Barton Elementary or Lake Worth High School that gets chosen.

Here is an excerpt from DiPaolo's article in the Post:
     Building a better mousetrap is the goal on Shark Tank. Philanthropy Tank’s goal is building a better community. [emphasis added]
     “We’re not looking for a new-fangled widget. We want them to come up with an idea that will help people and will grow beyond their original vision,” said Evan Deoul, AB Bernstein’s Senior Managing Director, who co-chairs Palm Beach Philanthropy Tank with Michael L. Kohner, Managing Director of Andersen Tax.
     Applications are being accepted from public, private and home-schooled students in grades 7-12 who live in Palm Beach County. Submission deadline is Dec. 15.
Here is a link to the application form with the instructions. Good Luck!

Another page from latest West Palm Beach Magazine and even more mentions of Lake Worth!

If you recall David Paladino, the owner of Blue Front BBQ on Dixie Hwy in Lake Worth, was featured in West Palm Beach Magazine in the October through December Issue and he got a full page picture to boot. Here is another page from the magazine:
The little City of Lake Worth gets two more mentions in this trendy, delightful magazine: The Cultural Council of Palm Beach and Lori Durante at Taste History Culinary Tour
Read more about Mama Gizzi's here. They're located at 2212 N. Dixie Highway in Lake Worth.

TOMORROW: Host Bob D'Arinzo and Co-Host Mayor Pam Triolo: "Lake Worth Has Talent"—Get your tickets soon

[UPDATE: The Post's Kevin Thompson has more information about the fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network at the Playhouse: the judges have been announced.*]

Most of you are familiar with Bob as one of our spectacular realtors in the City. In the short, 45-second video below he explains another of his passions, raising money for the Children's Miracle Network. To learn more use this link from a previous blog post. Now to the video:

Use the following link to learn more and buy tickets to the event on November 1st.

Please Note: If you have more positive, community news in the City of Lake Worth, suburban Lake Worth (including Palm Beach State College) and Greenacres here is how you contact the Post reporter:
Twitter: @kevindthompson1
*The Post reporter inaccurately reported the dollar goal for this fundraiser at the Lake Worth Playhouse. This error appeared Wednesday, 10/28 on page B3 of the Local and Business Section.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Post's Sonja Isger on the "Jefferson Davis" Middle School in Palm Springs, FL

A Letter to the Editor was published in The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday, October 27th, and here is part of that letter:
An "insult to both black and white" citizens?
The author of this letter and the Post editorial board both agree that the Confederate battle flag should remain on the Florida Senate seal. Senator Arthenia Joyner vehemently disagrees.

A recent Post article by Sonja Isger titled, "Look back: Local middle school dropped Jefferson Davis’ name from its name" includes some interesting historical insight. Here is an excerpt:
     The move to remove the name of the president of the Confederacy from a local middle school brewed for years, but came off with seemingly little debate 10 years ago this week [emphasis added] – Monday actually.
     It was June 29, 2005, when the Palm Beach County School Board ended a more-than-four-decade run as Jefferson Davis Middle School. Palm Springs Middle was born.
     At the time of the vote, at least 10 other schools across the country bore Davis’ name, according to a search of the National Center for Education Statistics. The same search today, turns up only five: two public middle schools, one public high school, a community college and a private pre-k through high school.
     When Palm Beach County built its Jefferson Davis school in 1961, only three districts, Broward, Dade and Volusia had integrated their schools, and then by only small numbers. The students at Jeff Davis, as it came to be known, were all white.
If you're interested, read more about Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States during the Civil War. If you recall, that was the war to protect the "workers" who "immigrated" from Africa:

An excerpt from latest in the series (#4) in the Coastal Observer about the historic Gulf Stream Hotel in Lake Worth, FL

The fourth installment IS OUT AND AVAILABLE in the Coastal Observer (10/29). Below is an excerpt from the latest installment and a special treat: The Riddle, a poem written about the Gulf Stream Hotel in December 1963. You'll find this poem at the very end of this blog post. Make sure to pick yourself up an issue. See where I got mine later in this post.
A view of the Gulf Stream Hotel (structure on left) looking east at the Town of Palm Beach across the Intracoastal (aka, the Lake Worth Lagoon).
This latest in the series features an article in The Lake Worth Herald from December 6th, 1984 by Deacon Rhodes titled, "Gulf Stream Hotel Is Seeking Larger Dining, Parking Areas". Interestingly, one of the very same problems the hotel experienced over 30 years ago would remain a problem today if the hotel were open for business. Here is an excerpt leading up to the article in the Herald from Dec. 1984:
     Last week, we featured an article from 1990 that was written during one of the many periods of the Gulf Stream Hotel’s history when it was closed and not operating as a hotel. It identified many of the same challenges that continue to face the hotel. This week’s installment is no different except that it is written six year earlier. It’s a short article in The Lake Worth Herald from December 6th, 1984. What’s interesting about this article is this: sans names and factual references this article could appear in the Herald today and apply to the current situation with the Gulf Stream Hotel as it exists now and have existed for many years.
     Why is that? One of the main issues with the hotel has nothing to do with the actual building itself but the lack of parking. Remember, the Gulf Stream was constructed in the 1920’s and the automobile wasn’t as yet the public’s preferred transportation option when visiting the state of Florida.
     Most visitors to the hotel in the early years arrived by train, planned stays of long duration, and didn’t need or particularly want to have their own personal vehicle. Many people used bikes for local transportation or walked. The resort had almost everything the guests needed (or within walking distance) plus the hotel offered tours to nearby attractions like race tracks, to cite one example.
I enjoyed this article immensely and think you will too. FYI, I got my issue of the paper at the Farmer Girl restaurant, 1732 N. Dixie Hwy. in Lake Worth.

Now for the treat, The Riddle, a poem written about the Gulf Stream Hotel:

Some folks, they like a riddle,
Now here is one for you.
It’s square, not deep, but open
Soft breezes blowing through.

Beyond the sky is lovely,
While clouds go sailing o’er.
I hear the call of song birds,
A distant train’s low roar.

A lake — and swinging palm trees,
The Ocean — deep and green —
Now can you guess My riddle?

For the last line of the poem and the answer to the riddle you'll need to pick yourself up an issue of the Coastal Observer. And Thank You everyone for your interest in this series about our iconic, historic hotel in the downtown.

City of Lake Worth makes the big time: Breaking news in the SFBJ

If real estate, banking, and business news is an interest of yours then the South Florida Business Journal (SFBJ) should be on your daily list of sources for news. The little City of Lake Worth hit the big time yesterday with a breaking news item about the forthcoming Village at Lake Osborne. Here is an excerpt from the article by reporter Brian Bandell
AHS Development Group obtained an $11 million loan from TD Bank to commence construction of an apartment complex in Lake Worth.
     Village at Lake Osborne LLC, an affiliate of the Miami-based developer led by Ernesto Lopes, received the construction mortgage and recently broke ground on the project at 2430 Lake Worth Road. It’s slated for 118 units in three Key West-style buildings of three stories each. [emphasis added]
To learn more about the little City of Lake Worth use this link and this one too.

Below is a Tweet from Mr. Bandell on news out of Miami. To "Follow" him on Twitter click on the Follow icon below:
For those of you following real estate news in the City, you'll recall this was a City Commission agenda item late last year; item E.2.c.
The site is the red box in the upper left corner; you can see it's location in relation to Lake Osborne to the south which is unincorporated Palm Beach County (image from the PBC Property Appraiser).

The Lake Worth Herald on the Little Free Libraries in the little City of Lake Worth, FL

Below is a news story in this week's Lake Worth Herald on the City's newly delivered Little Free Libraries:

     On Saturday, October 24, more than sixty volunteers turned out to help paint twenty-two Little Free Libraries at the city’s utility warehouse. Despite a very short time frame to accomplish the task, all 22 libraries were painted and weatherproofed in the parking lotturned artists’ studio! Neighbors from all over the city, ranging in age from six to 80 brought creativity and unbridled enthusiasm to each one. Installation throughout the city is expected to begin next week.
     These Little Free Libraries are brought to us by the nice people in the Friends of the Lake Worth Library, the College Park Neighborhood Association and the NAPC who all applied for and were awarded grants totaling $15,000 through the Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization, REAP program with incredible support and assistance from the City of Lake Worth.

[and. . .]

For more information about the Lake Worth Little Free Library project please email and visit us soon and often on facebook at Lake Worth Little Free Libraries.

To learn more about Little Free Libraries follow them on Twitter (click on the "Follow" icon to Follow them):

Rachel Leitão at NBC5/WPTV: More on problems the homeless are causing in downtown West Palm Beach

Some downtown business owners are very unhappy with what's happening vis-à-vis the overly aggressive homeless in downtown West Palm Beach. One business owner in the news segment makes reference to the "yellow shirts". Those wearing the bright yellow shirts in the downtown are security and don't have law enforcement power the WPB Police Dept. has—and the homeless know it.

What you'll find interesting is WPB was recently praised for their efforts to help the homeless by a former commissioner in Lake Worth:
At the 40 second mark JoAnn Golden praises the mayor of West Palm Beach and their city for all their efforts to aid the homeless. Unfortunately, at the 1:15 mark she goes off the rails making a terribly unfair characterization of the citizens here in Lake Worth.

When it comes to aiding the homeless, is it really a matter of enough is never enough? And since when did the rights of the homeless trump the rights of business owners and the customers who frequent those businesses? This is a matter of debate here in the City of Lake Worth and think you'll find this interesting—what happens when citizens, even those supportive of helping the homeless, get pushed to the breaking point.
A tourist walks past homeless passed out on pier in City park trying to take photographs. Is this the future you want for City parks?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Couldn't help myself—had to read the article about David Paladino

Most of you will be familiar with David as the owner of Blue Front BBQ on Dixie Hwy in Lake Worth. He is featured in West Palm Beach Magazine in the October through December Issue and he gets a full page picture to boot.
The Cultural Council of Palm Beach which is located in Lake Worth is also in the magazine. And they do a real good job starting on page 40 with an article titled, "Moving to West Palm Beach?"

Another great read is about Northwood with the pull quote, "A historic, fun and eclectic neighborhood!" known for its 'Bohemian vibe'. The magazine is a lot of fun to read; a nice break for those who look at TV and computer screens all day.

Cynthia Morrison, tomorrow at the Flamingo Clay Gallery in Lake Worth

Cynthia Morrison, a gothic, steampunk and murder mystery writer will discuss American author Edgar Allan Poe and his work "The Raven" TOMORROW at the Flamingo Clay Gallery, 15 S. "J" Street in Lake Worth. Win a RAVEN in the Poe trivia contest!

From an actual Letter to the Editor published in the Palm Beach Post on Tuesday, October 27th

Here is an excerpt from the Letter to the Editor published in the Post (won't identify the letter writer):
     As a former social studies teacher [emphasis added], I was particularly angry with those who want to erase the Confederate battle flag from the Florida Senate seal – a knee-jerk reaction to the South Carolina massacre.
     A few years ago, it was the name change of Jefferson Davis Middle School to Palm Springs Middle to reflect the diversity of the community – ignoring those of us who attended or whose children attended the school.
     It is wrong, and an insult to both black and white citizens who fought for the Confederacy. 
Inexplicably, The Palm Beach Post editorial board agrees with the letter writer that the Confederate battle flag should stay on the Florida Senate seal.

Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner (and leader of the Democrats in the Senate) disagrees and she let The Palm Beach Post know it in the strongest possible terms:
Should Palm Springs change the name of Palm Springs Middle back to Jefferson Davis Middle School? That would be an interesting editorial in The Palm Beach Post.

From Jamie Brown, Lake Worth Public Services Director: Road closure for Villages II project

From the rest of the Press Release: Please be cautious while driving in this area and obey all traffic workers. Safety is of the utmost importance for our residents as well as the workers. 
     Public Services would like to thank you in advance for your support and understanding during this construction. 
     For more information regarding this underground work activity for the Villages II at Lake Osborne project please feel free to call Paul Hundley with Dawson-Williams, Inc. at 561-346-0546 or Rusty Barton at 561-262-1737 or Dennis Montague with AHS Construction at (305) 420-8617. 

Mayor responds to problems the homeless are causing business owners in the downtown

Some current and former elected's from a small city south of West Palm Beach will be very interested in this story. This by NBC5/WPTV appeared as a news segment yesterday (10/28):

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Postcards of Lake Worth, Florida, and its iconic, historic Gulf Stream Hotel

The series in the Coastal Observer on the history of Lake Worth's Gulf Stream Hotel is immensely popular with readers, both the newspaper and the excerpts I've used on this blog to promote the series. The publisher is being contacted daily for back issues of the series and the fourth installment will be in this week's paper I'm told.
It's a near miracle the Gulf Stream Hotel is still standing. The vast majority of structures that would be part of our historic scene today, including hotels, that were constructed along Henry Flagler's trek to the Florida Keys are long gone. Either they succumbed to storms, neglect, or were simply torn down before communities and governments understood their historic significance and put the processes and rules in place to try and save them.
This process is playing out in Boynton Beach right now and soon we'll know the future of that structure: either it will be saved or torn down. From reports on the condition of the historic high school it's future looks grim but we'll know soon enough.
Below is a YouTube video I produced in 2008 titled, "Historic Postcards from Lake Worth, Florida" and there are postcards of the Gulf Stream Hotel included. Hope you enjoy this collection of postcards to the music "Over the Rainbow" by Sarah Vaughan, a classic if there ever was one:

Florida's Palm Beaches in 60 seconds and Lake Worth gets one!

Watch the video below and see if you can spot a location in the City of Lake Worth (Lake Worth is located next to the Town of Palm Beach, FL 33480; learn more about Lake Worth here):
This is a new video produced by Discover the Palm Beaches. About the video:
See the sights and experience some of the many things to do in The Palm Beaches in this fast-paced visual tour. For more information on Palm Beach County, visit Discover the Palm Beaches. From the historical landmarks of the Flagler Museum and Jupiter Lighthouse to the bustling nightlife in West Palm Beach and Delray Beach – get a glimpse of all there is to do in Palm Beach County in just 60 seconds. Bring your friends, family, sunscreen and sense of adventure to The Palm Beaches.

The City of Lake Worth's Wikipedia page: Hijacking of the City's page continues—Mis- and disinformation being added

First, I want to thank the person(s) who have been adding all the incredibly detailed historical information to the City's Wikipedia page. Some time in the near future will promote that work on this blog; Thank You very much.

If you've been following the news about the monkeywrenching of the City's Wikipedia page you'll remember when a radical 'church' in Lake Worth hijacked the City's page earlier in the year. This was fixed and the page continues to be monitored to ensure no further attacks occur. There have also been smaller and more clever ways someone or some group have attempted to hijack the page to further their own efforts to confuse and deceive the public.

Somebody has been particularly diligent keeping false information on the page, putting the misinformation back on the page each and every time it's been deleted (under the heading "Later history"):
"After a short period of neglect and decline in the 1980s and 1990s, the downtown area has seen a huge resurgence in interest and now sports an array of art galleries, sidewalk cafés and night clubs—so much so that Village Voice Media recently dubbed Lake Worth "The Coolest City in South Florida.[18]"
When you click on footnote 18 this is what you find, a link to a Broward New Times article, NOT THE VILLAGE VOICE! The writer of that article in the New Times no longer writes for them; this was the next to last article posted by that writer and it might give you a clue as to why he/she is no longer a writer for them.

Here are two charming excerpts from the "Village Voice" article cited on the City's Wikipedia page:
Chamber of Commerce types throughout Palm Beach County have long laid the rap that Lake Worth never gets anything done, that city government is a terminal clusterfuck [link added by this blogger] where businesses don't get respect from the obstinately retrograde natives. What about capital "P" progress, they cry?
[Very charming, isn't it? And. . .]
And for all the city's governmental difficulties and screwups, they've still got a municipal beach with fine new casino and amenities [link added by this blogger], and, most impressive of all, city-owned power and water. When the day comes, El Dub can declare independence, with electricity and good drinking water to survive on.
Please understand, the City's electric utility is owned by the City but all the power is purchased off the grid from coal plants, nuclear power plants, and other types of electric produced by fossil fuels.

Oh, and by the way Steve, at 9:00 a.m. this morning (10/28) the false information about the 'Village Voice' was deleted again. Watch this video about the Village Voice:

[UPDATE] Want to do your part to help save the historic Boynton Beach High School?

[Note The Palm Beach Post is experiencing technical difficulties with their website and it's difficult to find articles online. The reporter Alexandra Seltzer has a new article today in the print edition (10/28) with the latest: the structure is too dangerous to let volunteers in to help clean up the inside of the building. Their is no mention of the effort to move structures from Riviera Beach but possibly we'll get more information on that later.]

The clock is ticking to save the historic Boynton Beach High School from demolition. Those who support saving the structure were given four months to come up with a solution to save the building and how to fund the effort. By my calculation, Wednesday, December 16th (49 days from today, 10/28) is that deadline. It was discovered recently that the foundation of the structure is in worse shape than first thought; that makes the hill a little steeper to climb and all of our thoughts are with them and wish them the best.

It's interesting to note that no one is using the 'newly-renovated' Lake Worth Casino as an example any longer on how to 'save' a historic structure. The word got out: the former Casino building wasn't savedit was 94% demolished.

Here is the latest news [previous article from 9/22] from Alexandra Seltzer about the high school. A group started a Go Fund Me account to help save the structure from demolition but they're not doing so well in the money-raising effort. Their last donation was well over a month ago:
The GoFundMe account is now up to $2,617.
If you would like to help here is the contact information for Save Boynton High School:

More on Lake Worth's Downtown Renaissance: A platform for new ideas in Palm Beach County. . .Suri Tapas

The revival of Lake Worth's downtown is a spectacular thing to behold. The vibrant, expanding, and trend-setting artist community here is attracting others in the creative arena, including restaurateurs. Lake Worth for some time has been home to restaurants that get press and attention throughout south Florida: Benny's on the Beach, Blue Front BBQ, and Brougues Downunder to name a few. Now the iconic music venue in the City has re-opened, the Bamboo Room.

Now comes this news about another restaurant in Lake Worth with a new idea that became a big hit with foodies throughout the county: Suri Tapas. Here is an excerpt from the article by Maddy Mesa:
     Since its opening in June of 2014, [owner Matthew] Barger and senior partner John Pata have seen their restaurant take off, feeding hungry customers not only in the Lake Worth area but also from Delray Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Wellington. [emphasis added]
     "It was kind of a hit right away," Barger said. "We really created a destination. In season, we feed about 40 percent from Boca, and we get some from Wellington and West Palm Beach, too."
     With their success, and an appearance on truTV's "Barmageddon" last January, the owners said it was time to expand.
     "It's funny, we're coming back to Wellington and taking over the place [Barger] managed for years," Pata said. "Just proves they couldn't do it without him."
     Barger and Pata, who have known each other for about seven years, met while working at The Player's Club, now known as the Coach House Restaurant & Bar, 13410 Southshore Blvd., in Wellington.
Read why the little City of Lake Worth is "quite the buzz" and is being called south Florida's next "landmark downtown". Hope to see you around and don't forget the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival will be in February!

Manifesto from Alain de Botton: founder of London’s 'The School of Life' on how to make attractive cities (6 fundamental rules)

“Cities are a big deal, we pretty much all have to live in them, we should try hard to get them right.”
Note when the 5-story building is mentioned as the optimal height for a building and how important POLITICAL WILL is to the process.

Sober Homes and Consequences: an article in website called Recovery Hub

Many Lake Worth residents are concerned about sober houses in the City and why their presence here is a terrible idea for addicts and those in recovery. Why would anyone in recovery want to go through that process in a city that has has an abundance of bars, liquor stores, a certain type of weed, and a well-deserved reputation for parties and partying? The City even has a 'recovery' church in a bar if you can believe that.

And then there's this from the Post's reporter Pat Beall. The insurance industry is very concerned about the situation vis-à-vis fraud and sober homes, drug testing, etc. Unfortunately, for the time being, there's little that can be done on the local level due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); that might be changing thanks to Senator Hager, State Senator Jeff Clemens, and Rep. Lori Berman, to name a few. Changes at the Federal level are needed so that local governments can regulate these establishments.

Now comes this from a website called Recovery Hub. For something like this to appear on a site offering recovery services is incredible.

All of us should do our part to get the word out that south Florida is not a place to come for "treatment." There must be other regions in our nation that would offer less of a "trigger-filled" environment for recovery from addiction. Get the word out because it's very important: peoples lives are at stake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

City of West Palm Beach considering dedicated bike lanes on Flagler Drive

From West Palm Beach's website:
October 27, 2015
(West Palm Beach, FL) – What do you think about the idea of having separate, dedicated bike lanes along Flagler Drive?
      The city is looking at the idea of making a stretch of Flagler Drive the first roadway in the city to have separate, bike-only lanes.
      The portion of Flagler Drive being considered is from Lakeview Avenue to Banyan Boulevard.
      There are four driving lanes along that stretch – two northbound and two southbound.
      The idea is to redesign the road so there are two driving lanes – one northbound and one southbound. The remaining space would be converted into separate, dedicated bike lanes.
     Traffic engineers are hoping to have some preliminary research done by the end of the year.
     The project is the latest example of how the city is making major improvements to shift the focus away from cars and more towards alternative methods of transportation.
West Palm Beach Mayor Muoio and the DDA's Raphael Clemente recently returned from a trip to Copenhagen on a grant from the Knight Foundation to learn more about sustainable, walkable, and bikeable cities. Here is a short blog post from October 6th about that. At the 1:03 mark on the video below you see them in their Winter finest with Copenhagen in the background.

Warning: For those of you frightened or disturbed by tall buildings DO NOT WATCH this video. 

AP: "Ole Miss removes Mississippi flag with Confederate emblem" [and what's with the editors at the Palm Beach Post?]

[UPDATE: The full response by Florida State Senator Arthenia Joyner to the Palm Beach Post editorial board on the Confederate battle flag issue is in the paragraph below the excerpt from the AP. Note that Senator Joyner is also the Democrat leader in the Florida Senate. Suffice to say she is very unhappy with the Post editorial board.]

Emily Wagster Pettus at the Associated Press has this article subtitled, "It [Confederate battle flag] was undermining diversity efforts, said student and faculty." Here is a short excerpt:
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi quietly pulled down the state flag on Monday, deciding that the 121-year-old banner's Confederate battle emblem sends a harmful message in this age of diversity.
     Acting under the order of Interim Chancellor Morris Stocks, three campus police officers furled the flag before most students were awake, taking it down from a circle of honor between the white-columned administration building and a marble statue of a saluting Confederate soldier.
Inexplicably, in another recent development The Palm Beach Post editorial board supports keeping the Confederate battle flag on the Florida Senate Seal. Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner, who is also the Democrat leader in the Senate, disagreed strongly with them and let them know it in the strongest possible terms:
     Contrary to your assertions, my intention in stripping the rebel flag from that seal was not to erase a portion of Florida's slave history. Like the memories of my father shielding us from the Klu Klux Klan sweeping through our neighborhood when I was a child, that history can never be erased, nor should it be. [emphasis added]
     But as my colleague, state Sen. Darren Soto, so eloquently stated: "We can't revise history and choose which moments to forget. But we can choose what we highlight in our seal, and what is just and right."
If you want to learn more about the Confederate flag (the "stars and bars) and the "Southern Cross" use this link.

Former Lake Worth City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill WINS! Rules loosened for development in Ag Reserve

Here is the article from Post reporter Wayne Washington. Drew Martin is quoted in the article and he is not happy and would guess neither is Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier but he doesn't know where the Ag Reserve is so it doesn't really matter.

In retrospect this is all so hard to believe: former Commissioner Mulvehill, the champion of resiliency, sustainability, anti-development, etc. while a city commissioner in Lake Worth became the Chair of the Forced to Farm PAC that was organized to loosen regulations on land development in the Ag Reserve. Try to wrap your head around that one.
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 that Suzanne Mulvehill, when she was campaigning for elected office in Lake Worth, had some supporters you might recognize:
Vote for "Positive Change".

From Vox: "America’s biggest gun problem is the one we never discuss"

The video by Vox (below) will be very disturbing for many. First, if you know anyone who may be contemplating suicide call 911. There is also the Mental Health Association of PBC and many other resources available. Here is an excerpt from the story by Vox on the biggest problem with guns in the U.S. that "we never discuss":
     Guns killed 33,636 people in the United States in 2013. But while homicides and mass shootings dominate the headlines, nearly two-thirds of those deaths — 21,175 — were suicides. That's the real gun problem in the US, and we barely ever talk about it.
     The idea that limiting access to guns could reduce suicides gets a lot of resistance from folks who question whether the method of suicide actually matters. Won't people who really want to kill themselves do it anyway, after all?
     The video [below] explains just how serious our gun suicide problem is, why the means of suicide really do matter, and how gun control measures can help.

Woodspring Suites Hotel in Lake Worth—Job Fair (2171 10th Ave, Lake Worth, FL)

***Woodspring Suites Hotel Lake Worth Career Fair*** 
2171 10th Ave N, Lake Worth, FL 33461
Just west of I-95 across from Wayne Acres Ford

Thursday, October 29, 2015 AND Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Open interviews 7 am10 am or 2 pm6 pm

The brand new Woodspring Suites Hotel in Lake Worth, FL will be hosting a Career Fair and conducting open interviews for ALL hotel positions. Qualified candidates may also be HIRED on the spot!

[ANOTHER LOOK] Kim Davis and her attorneys angry and "red all over" mad at factual news report in the Associated Press

Kim Davis and her attorney, Mat Staver of the Liberty Council, are angry over this AP story labeling his Liberty Council a "hate group". Here is a link to the Southern Poverty Law Center's page on Mat Staver.

Curiously enough and completely off topic, here is a video of Lake Worth, FL's own Southern Baptist 'pastor' Mike Olive with Mat Staver while engaged in his 'War on Religion' in the City (you'll see him starting at the 1:30 mark in the video):
Now back on topic, The Advocate has this article about the story in the AP datelined October 21st, an excerpt:
     Claire Galofaro, a correspondent for the Associated Press, reported October 4 that the label was applied to the law firm by the Southern Poverty Law Center. SPLC defends that label on its website with dozens of examples of antigay positions, statements, and cases, and calls Liberty Counsel “a legal organization advocating for anti-LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty.” [emphasis added]
     Now, according to a report by watchdog group Media Matters, Liberty Counsel is demanding the AP permanently delete the report and accuses the wire service of putting the lives of Davis and Liberty Counsel staff at risk, saying death threats have come in.
[and. . .]
     At press time, there was no confirmation of any death threats against Liberty Counsel being reported to Orlando police.
It would be interesting to get a comment about this situation from someone at the "Common Ground" (no 's') church here in Lake Worth. The Palm Beach Post recently had an article about them you might find interesting.

Monday, October 26, 2015

[By Request . . . ] Former Lake Worth Commissioner JoAnn Golden said, "Hopefully my public comment won't be commented on publicly. . .

. . .because I didn't think that's what public comments were about."

So we're to conclude that public comment is to be made but not heard? Then what is the purpose of public comment? This brilliant statement by Golden was uttered at a Lake Worth city commission meeting on 9/23. You can hear it for yourself at the 20 second mark in the video below:

Golden also makes a claim about there being no public comment on the budget that is debunked by Peggy Fisher (you can see that for yourself at the 1:25 mark on the video; later in her comments she references Commissioner McVoy's failed effort to raise the City's electric rates).

But getting back to Golden, public comment is public and to suggest otherwise is jabber. She might still be smarting from her appearance at the city commission meeting on Tuesday 9/1. At the 1:20 mark in the video below she states that if refugees landed on our Lake Worth beach she believes your response as a City resident would be to "probably take out guns and get rid of 'em". Not kidding.
Very charming, isn't it? And note in the video she makes reference to 'toning down the rhetoric' or something like that. Makes me wonder if she's looked in a mirror any time recently.

From last Tuesday's (10/20) City of Lake Worth Commission meeting: Presentations

The four videos above are in a playlist. In the top, left corner you'll see "1/4". Click on that icon and you can choose which video to watch.

Video 1: Declaration of Customer Service Month.
Video 2: Florida Food and Farm recognition.
Video 3: John Pickett and the College Park Neighborhood Assoc. update. The Mary Lindsey was recognized for her spectacular efforts in our City.
Video 4 (this is a must-watch!): Phil Materio, the president of the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Assoc. talks about their outreach to the Guatemalan community, their crime watch efforts, the partnership with code enforcement, and a clever way they came up with to keep the streets clear of trash and debris. Please share this video with your neighbors. Great job, Tropical Ridge!

To learn more about the Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents Council (NAPC) use this link and here is their Facebook page.

From the Shiny Sheet: Chamber of Commerce wants to gauge the quality of life in Town of Palm Beach (33480)

There's one resident in the town they might want to think twice about including in the survey.

Here is an excerpt from the article in the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, the Shiny Sheet) by William Kelly on an effort by the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce:
     The chamber said the survey was emailed to all members of the chamber, Palm Beach Civic Association, Worth Avenue Association and the South County Road Association. It also will be posted on websites for the chamber, civic association, Citizens’ Association of Palm Beach, and the O’Donnell Agency.
     “The town has very little data that reflects how people feel about life in Palm Beach, what’s working, what’s not, and what we can do better,” said Laurel Baker, the chamber’s executive director. “Everybody says, ‘We’re Palm Beach, we’re different,’ but does anybody have a sense of what our identity really is?”
About the survey (here is the link):
The goal of this survey is to reveal perceptions and opinions about the quality of life in Palm Beach, its economic confidence, attitudes and support for Town leadership. Participants may submit one survey per person and all survey submissions remain anonymous.

From the Tampa Bay Times: "Loews Don CeSar named Best Historic Hotel in America"

Justine Giffen has this article on the Loews Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach:
     The Loews Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach was recently named the "Best Historic Hotel" in its size category by the Historic Hotels of America organization.
     The 277-room "Pink Palace," which has been an icon on St. Pete Beach for decades, was built in 1928. The hotel was recognized for its history and restoration.
     "It's been 88 years in the making," said Stephen Cummings, general manager of the Don CeSar. "I'm proud to represent such an iconic landmark."
If you've been following this blog and/or reading The Coastal Observer your excited about the future of our iconic Gulf Stream Hotel in Lake Worth. The Gulf Stream Hotel, like the "Pink Palace", were built along Henry Flagler's rail line which would eventually reach the Florida Keys. In case you're interested, the Henry Flager Museum is located in the Town of Palm Beach.

Congratulations to the team who restored the Don CeSar.

[UPDATE] Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner smacks down The Palm Beach Post editorial board

[UPDATE: The Palm Beach Post is apparently experiencing technical difficulties and that's why the thoughts of Senator Arthenia Joyner aren't posted as digital content yet. Be patient and check the blog later in the day. In the meantime here is what appeared in the print edition:
Hopefully the Post will fix their issues shortly.]
Image from Wikipedia.
Talk about a smackdown of epic proportions. Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner lays into the Post editors and rips them apart over their ridiculous editorial last Tuesday on the Confederate battle flag being removed from the Florida Senate seal.

For some strange reason there is no link to the Point of View by the Senator in the online edition as of 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I'll check back later and link to it if the editorial board decides they'll let their online readers have access to Senator Joyner's thoughts. If you're interested, here is my take on the Post editorial.

The Post shouldn't be discouraged though; they have their loyal supporters out there:
Read more about this using this link.

TONIGHT—Peaceful Rally for Corey Jones' family

Starts 6 p.m. TONIGHT (Monday, Oct 26th)

Hilltop Missionary Baptist Church
1273 W. 30th Street, Riviera Beach
For Info: Mayor's Chief of Staff Debie L. Isaacs, 561-845-4064

Mayor Thomas A. Masters is spearheading a community rally and benefit for the family of the 31-year-old church drummer who was fatally shot just after 3 a.m. last Sunday by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer alongside I-95.

The rally, “Justice for Corey Jones,” will begin at 6 p.m. The Rev. Griffin Davis, Sr., is the host pastor.

[Get directions to the rally here.]

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Coastal Star: "Along the Coast: Building fees growth reflects local rebound"

Rich Pollack at The Coastal Star has this interesting item on what is happening along A1A in Palm Beach County:
     Drive along State Road A1A and you’ll see the subtle signs of a steadily recovering economy.
     In Manalapan, several older homes have been bulldozed to make way for new and larger luxury homes that are rising out of the ground.
     A short distance away crews are remodeling an aging condo for new owners who want a place with a more contemporary appearance.        Not far down the road in Highland Beach, a multimillion-dollar luxury condominium project is being built on what had been one of the last remaining empty parcels of land in town.
     All up and down the coast, South Florida’s economic rebound can be seen in the construction that’s taking place — and in the resulting revenues municipalities collect from building-permit fees.

From ABC25/WPBF: "NTSB preliminary report released on deadly Palm Springs plane crash"

Reporter Whitney Burbank has the latest news on the tragic plane crash in Palm Beach County, here is an excerpt:
PALM SPRINGS, Fla. —The National Transportation and Safety Board released its preliminary report on a fatal plane crash Palm Springs last week that left two people dead.
     Hundreds of people attended a vigil Wednesday night to honor the memory of 21-year-old Banny Galicia. Family and friends gathered as well at the Palm Beach Shores home of the pilot of the plane that crashed.
For those of you who followed this news closely you're probably totally confused by now where this plane crash occurred. You've heard "in Lake Worth", "near Lake Worth", "outside Lake Worth", "Palm Springs", etc. Actually it was none of those places and you can read here where the actual crash occurred.
I hope this helps.

Where is The Palm Beach Post printed? And shouldn't the newspaper inform their readers who that printer is?

Stay with me here. . .The Palm Beach Post reporter Kevin Thompson wrote an excellent article about a spectacular group of volunteers who've been working so hard for many years to produce a book about The Cottages of Lake Worth. Some time back a former Post reporter, Lona O'Connor, wrote an article about these splendid citizens and their efforts to promote our unique cottages in this little City.

The Cottages of Lake Worth group set up a GoFundMe account that includes more information such as the editor of the forthcoming book, Chris Felker, a former employee of The Palm Beach Post himself.

But. . .for some inexplicable reason, in an otherwise magnificent piece of work in the Post about this group and their soon-to-be-book, the reporter included this line:
The 10-chapter, 170-page book should be ready to print soon in South Korea.
Why is that important? You'll have to ask the reporter and the editor. Why couldn't the line have read like this:
The 10-chapter, 170-page book is expected to be ready for publishing soon.
That got me thinking. How many readers of The Palm Beach Post know where that newspaper is printed? Does The Palm Beach Post have a printing facility somewhere in Palm Beach County? No. The Sun Sentinel in Broward County is the printer of The Palm Beach Post.

Read about The Palm Beach Post in Wikipedia:
     [T]he Post downsized its newsroom by more than 30 percent in 2008 and 2009. At the same time it closed its printing press. The Post's print edition is now printed in Broward County by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and shipped north to Palm Beach County for daily distribution.
     As of 2012, the Post's average daily circulation was slightly over 88,000, well below daily circulation figures of around 165,000 at the turn of the century, according to BurrellesLuce. It is the 80th largest daily newspaper in the United States and the 7th largest in Florida.
For some perspective, Palm Beach County (depending on whether you include Lake Okeechobee or not) is either the first or second largest county in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and includes 38 cities and a large unincorporated area but The Palm Beach Post is "the 80th largest daily newspaper" in the U.S.? The word "grotty" comes to mind.

And The Palm Beach Post can't even print their own newspaper. But did you know The Cottages of Lake Worth is having their book printed in South Korea? Give me a break.

The Florida Corgi Picnic happening soon—Save the Date: November 14th

Here is the website to find out more and register if you wish. This picnic is to benefit CorgiAid. Palm Bay is located on Florida's east coast south of Cape Canaveral and north of Vero Beach. Here is the address: 220 Chandler Road NW, Palm Bay, FL 32907. 

Isn't this Corgi adorable:

[UPDATE] Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier misrepresents Lake Worth at Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council

[UPDATE: Commissioner Maier, by the looks of it, hasn't been trained well by his handlers and that has now been forever documented by his appearance at the TCRPC last month in the now-approved minutes. In an irresponsible manner he misrepresented the City of Lake Worth on a very crucial matter:
The Planning & Zoning Board and City staff DID NOT recommend "against the changes". They both supported the changes to the City's LDR's.
Continue reading this post (originally published earlier in the month) on how badly misrepresented our City was before such an important board:]

After Maier's debacle vis-à-vis the FEC train horn volume and the "little horns" it was suggested that somebody from Lake Worth should be tasked with attending meetings of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) to find out what Maier is telling people and to make sure the record is set straight. Now this suggestion is now a necessity. Maier is the City's liaison to the TCRPC and he misrepresented (or lied about, if you wish) the issue of 'planned development' in our City.

He misrepresented both himself as an elected official and the City Commission. The following is from the minutes of the TCRPC on September 18th (page 5):
     Commissioner Ryan Maier indicated he is a new commissioner in Lake Worth and is learning about planned development, because in Lake Worth they have discussed allowing them in the city. He stated according to Muni Code, the intent of a planned development is to relax regulations related to height, density, setback, etc. He indicated Palm Beach County currently allows planned developments at 40 percent in the agricultural reserve, and that anything higher could hardly be called agricultural reserve. He noted the planning and zoning board along with staff have recommended against the changes, and he asked Council to support that position. 
What Lake Worth has done is nothing close to what he is suggesting to the TCRPC. No one is suggesting a large, gated community in the City like those that dot the county out west. Making the suggestion is ludicrous and inflammatory. Lake Worth isn't relaxing any regulations on height or density. What is being changed, for example, is that lots of a half acre or larger can have a little more flexibility where the structure is located. Here is the first page of the City Commission agenda from October 6th:
You can read this material for yourself about the changes from the City Commission agenda: read pages 117–134.

Take special note of the following facts:
  • City staff supports the changes
  • The Planning & Zoning Board voted 7-0 in support (August 5th)
  • The Historic Resources Preservation Board voted 6-0 in support (August 12th)
  • The City Commission voted 3-2 in support on September 1st (with Commissioners Maier & McVoy dissenting; no big surprise)
Being the liaison to the TCRPC is a serious responsibility and shouldn't be taken lightly. And the public in Lake Worth shouldn't have to be concerned about how our elected officials are behaving before such a crucial board such as the TCRPC. They are a very important partner and their help has been and will be crucial for our City's future.

And lastly, from the TCPRC minutes Maier stated "he is a new commissioner in Lake Worth". After 200+ days?

Here is more about Maier and his appearance at the TCRPC: inexplicably, he has no clue where the Ag Reserve is located in Palm Beach County.