Saturday, March 26, 2016

House fire on Cornell Drive yesterday in the College Park neighborhood of Lake Worth

This was the scene starting mid-afternoon (Friday, 3/25) in Lake Worth's College Park neighborhood:
What started as noticeable smoke coming out of the attic and roof soon turned into a 2-alarm fire. The house was a historic one, built in the Mission Revival style in the mid to late 1920s. It was always a well-kept home and nicely landscaped. The owners were away at the time and there were no pets in the house.
I've never seen so many rescue and emergency vehicles in my neighborhood before. The view above shows the area along Pennsylvania Drive, looking towards the corner of Cornell Drive.
Above is a "zoomed-in" picture of the firefighters on the roof of the home attempting to get the fire under control. The fire was in the attic and, according to reports, multiple areas were involved. While the Fire Marshal has not indicated a cause, a neighbor who talked to him said that the house will be a total loss. Very sad.
My suspicion, going on past experience and similar incidents, is the fire may likely have been an electrical one started by old "knob and tube" wiring. This is just a guess and have no evidence one way or the other. I know of another recent case of a West Palm Beach historic home where that type of wiring was to blame for a 2nd-story fire in a Mediterranean Revival house that resulted in a total loss of the structure.

Hopefully soon, we'll have the answer from the Fire Marshall.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the homeowners. There are so many people here in this neighborhood who will help in any way they can.

Mary Fisher, who gave one of the "greatest American speeches of the 20th century" about AIDS in 1992, to be keynote speaker for "Not In My Town" fundraiser

"We at Opera Fusion believe that the genre of opera or 'musical drama' must take on current issues. For our second season we are undertaking an ambitious project: the premiere of Not In My Town, a musical drama in one 90-minute act written by composer Michael W. Ross, based on the events surrounding the death of Matthew Shepard, a young, gay college student who was beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die."
Opera Under the Starsa fundraiser for South Florida nonprofit Opera Fusion Inc.will be hosted by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer on April 4th (more information below).
About Mary Fisher: "She burst into public view with her 'Whisper of AIDS' address at the 1992 Republican Convention, now ranked among the 100 greatest American speeches of the 20th century. An author, artist, and advocate who had previously worked in the White House of President Gerald Ford, Fisher used her speech to call for an end to the stigmatization of AIDS and those infected with HIV."

For further information and contacts, scroll down below the video:
DATE: Monday, April 4, 2016
TIME: 6:30 p.m.
PLACE: Hampton Green Farm, 13285 Southfields Road, Wellington
COST: Individual tickets are $190. Many sponsorship levels are available, which include tickets to the world premiere of the "Not In My Town" opera.
INCLUDES: Cocktails, dinner and performances by 10 of Opera Fusion’s singers
FOR TABLE SPONSORS AND TICKETS, CONTACT:
  • Birgit Fioravante at (954) 812-7679, (561) 503-2025, or (copy and paste) birgit@operafusion.org
  • Carol Carnevale at (561) 307-3115 or (copy and paste) CarnevaleC@bellsouth.net

[Re-post, by request] The Greenwashing of the Lake Worth Casino building and the problems which will only get worse over time

An article was published in the Post that delves with what you'll learn below about this long-ignored problem which began in 2009/2010. Here are two excerpts from the article:
      When the building, which cost $6 million [emphasis added], was opened in 2013, it was riddled with issues, including water intrusion, bad drainage, leaking and rusting.
[and. . .]
     “We’ve lost revenue and it’s put a strain on the financial plan that was designed for that building,” Maxwell [Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell] said. “It’s also caused political issues. The city of Lake Worth has been an afterthought in all of this and I don’t think our best interests where in the forefront of what y’all were doing.”
     Gonzalez [Rick Gonzalez from REG] said the building was an $8 million project done for $6 million.
     The city borrowed $6 million from itself to demolish and repair the building, a loan the city said it has struggled to pay back. The city has also been unable to lease the upstairs space because of the building’s numerous issues.
The $6 million figure will be important to remember going forward. Not only is the City way behind on the loan payments to the taxpayers/utility customers who put up the loan money it's also important to remember that many of the required "Green" elements were Greenwashed from the project in 2009/2010. In case you're curious, that would be part of the $2 million that was "saved". Doesn't look like much of a deal now does it?
It was confirmed on March 2nd that the Casino building lacks its green building certification. This is required by state law. The building still has a temporary certificate of occupancy which reflects the on-going problems present in the construction of the building. These problems were discussed at recent City Commission meetings in light of the City possibly having to declare the architect and general contractor of the building in default. This "green" certification is another item that must be addressed. This is a major issue.

Here is a portion of the state law which mandates green certification for government buildings:
255.2575 Energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.
(1) The Legislature declares that there is an important state interest in promoting the construction of energy-efficient and sustainable buildings. Government leadership in promoting these standards is vital to demonstrate the state’s commitment to energy conservation, saving taxpayers money, and raising public awareness of energy rating systems.
(2) All county, municipal, school district, water management district, state university, Florida College System institution, and state court buildings shall be constructed to comply with a sustainable building rating system or a national model green building code. This section applies to all county, municipal, school district, water management district, state university, Florida College System institution, and state court buildings the architectural plans of which are commenced after July 1, 2008.
The architect was selected in 2010 and the general contractor selected a few months later by a previous City Commission which included such notable "Green" commissioners you may remember: Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden, Suzanne Mulvehill and in November 2010 the now-sitting Commissioner Chris McVoy joined the group. Rene Varela was the mayor at the time.

The promise made at the time was to "save the building" and everyone praised that it would be the most "Green" alternative, rather than construct a new building. The building was to contain Green and renewable energy features. Some of the more fantastical features proposed (which never came to be) for the building were a storm water re-use system that would employ a cistern and for wind turbines to generate electricity for the building. These proposals were just a few of the early causalities of budget and engineering constraints.

The Casino building, as it sits today, is a new building. The building that was previously there was 94% demolished. There was no effort at salvaging material from the demolition. There is no utilization of mass transit alternatives to the site. Were energy efficiency of materials and equipment used in the construction of the new building selected for their energy efficiency? The building is not built on pilings (which then-sitting Commissioner McVoy should have objected to) which would have fortified the foundation in the event of a storm surge or from rising sea levels. The seawall is the building's last line of protection from these hazards and it has not been professionally examined to determine if it could survive a storm surge event.
Remember, the previous Casino building was not "renovated", "saved", or "restored". It was 94% demolished and the present Casino building was constructed in its place without pilings, east of the Coastal Construction Control Line.
All of these features would have contributed toward the Casino building being a "Green" and "sustainable" structure. These were removed from the project in order to keep the cost under $6 million dollars. Now there is a question of whether or not the building will ever meet "Green" certification standards. Remember, this is required by state law.

For example, note another project near the ocean in the city of Deerfield Beach. They started their internationally acclaimed pier construction in 2010 and finished in 2012. Their pier and complex has a "Green" certification and the Lake Worth Casino still does not. Just thought I would point that out.

Here's an interesting piece from the Florida Bar Journal from April, 2011 titled, "The Latest in Green Development: Advising Your Client on the New Standard for Real Estate Projects." Here is an excerpt:
     These practices demand new skills for their implementation as development, design, construction, and leasing disciplines become infused with concepts previously more commonly associated with environmental science. These green concerns will affect, if not transform, the way business is conducted in real estate projects, from choice of site, selection of raw materials and their processing techniques, fabrication of products, methods of on-site construction and building components, transportation of product components, and commissioning, through the ongoing maintenance and replacement of project components during the lifespan of the project.
The Commission making the decisions at the time of the building's design and construction did something referred to as "Greenwashing." However, if you recall, former Commissioner Cara Jennings (including others like her recent Anarchist candidate, who lost in a landslide) spent a lot of time in Palm Beach Gardens for many years focused on some of their development projects. Was that what caused her and others to loose focus while the Casino construction project was being Greenwashed?

Stay tuned for more on this.

RIP "Tom the Yard Guy". His friends and family need your help.

For: Thomas Altman
Lake Worth, FL
Organizer: Tammy Pansa. Click here to contribute.

Use this link for the related story in The Palm Beach Post.

Update: We have sad news that Tom has passed, and we hope to help with his final arrangements.

"Tom the yard guy" Altman was found severely beaten in our neighborhood this week. We've all seen him around town. He has the shopping cart and runs his yard business out of it. He is in the hospital, but we've also found out he's recently homeless. I am a member of Mango Groves neighborhood, and wanted to start a fund for his medical expenses and to help find him a new place to live.

Posted on March 26, 2016 by Tammy Pansa:

"Thank you to all who have supported Tom.  We are over $300 now, and we're really thankful for all your support.  

We have some tragic news. Tom passed away today. A neighbor talked to his sister Cindy who was there when the hospital disconnected life support because he was brain dead. Tom was a gentle, hardworking man who was trying to better himself and find a place to live. The family is arranging a memorial service. We will provide updates as soon as more information is available. With that, we would like to change the focus of the funding and have it help the family with his funeral or final arrangements. . . If that is ok with everyone?  If not we can return the funds? We are so sad for our neighbor Tom and his family.

Please do what you can to assist. Thank you."

The Lake Worth Easter Egg Hunt is today in the little City's wonderful Bryant Park

This event is also sponsored by Lake Worth's Neighborhood Assoc. President's Council (NAPC). The NAPC is also on Facebook:
"Our neighborhoods have boundaries. Our commitment to each other does not."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Something to remember during the next election cycle

Signs do not vote. People do.

It's also important to realize that both sides were running as a "slate" of candidates. Here is that definition in Wikipedia:
     A slate is a group of candidates that run in multi-seat or multi-position elections on a common platform.
     The common platform may be because the candidates are all members of a political party, have the same or similar policies, or some other reason.
The three that won were not the only ones that ran together on a slate; it's important to remember that:
The slate that lost in a landslide were the Anarchist Ryan Hartman, Frank McAlonan, and Dianne Jacques. Gary Antieau (another candidate), was used to force Mayor Triolo into a run-off. It didn't work.
With the exception of the last picture in this series (Commissioner Maier's salon windows), these pictures were taken along a stretch of North Palmway.
For those concerned about the environment and contributing plastics to the waste stream, you might be interested in these ideas for recycling these Coroplast signs. It was the Anarchist's use of #5 eco-unfriendly, plastic signs that raised more than a few eyebrow's within the environmental community:
Commissioner Ryan Maier's salon windows. He is up for re-election on March 14th, 2017. In other news, he was re-appointed to the Lake Worth Sister City Board unanimously, which he admitted doesn't meet. 

TOMORROW (Sat., 3/26): Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association (DJNA) 5th Annual FLOLFING* Tournament

Dear fellow El-Dubians, I am being inundated for requests for more information on the FLOLFING event tomorrow, March 26st. Below is more information. Please stop calling; the dogs are becoming alarmed. Start your FLOLFING journey with the video below from last years spectacular event:

DJNA's 5th Annual FLOLFING Tournament explained:
"This 9 hole Course is a home and garden tour with a DJNA twist. Volunteers make their own hole at their homes and Flolfers go house to house to play a round."
Can you find the FLoLFfie in the picture below?
*FLOrida urban mini-putt-putt goLFING.

Tee Off: 11:00ish
Starting Hole: 207 South 'M' Street

Cost: $25

Thursday, March 24, 2016

More news about Spring Training baseball in John Prince Park. But first a short message to our visitors from the Atlanta Braves:

To everyone in the Atlanta Braves organization, welcome to Palm Beach County and encourage you to spend time in our little City of Lake Worth. Our City would be honored to have your facility so close to us and the support from our community, and others nearby, will be tremendous.

Now for an important message: When this idea was considered last time about a Spring Training facility in John Prince Park (JPP), the community support in the City was off the charts. People attended City meetings, for example, wearing colorful baseball hats and singing, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (see video below). There was a general sense of excitement throughout the City and those who were here at that time will remember all that.

But. . . there was, and still is, a very small group of malcontents who made a lot of noise opposing this idea. They created rumors and tried to manufacture a panic, using all sorts of lies over the prospect of a baseball facility in JPP. They drew attention to themselves by attacking well-respected public officials and accusing them, and many others, of corruption and other unsubstantiated criminal activity:
County Commissioner Shelley Vana is one of the most well-respected leaders in Palm Beach County. Vana was attacked and maligned simply to draw media attention to those opposed to the idea of a Spring Training facility in JPP.
The point is, DON'T LET YOURSELVES BE DISTRACTED BY THESE TACTICS! Also, these people are very clever at disguising their actual number of supporters. Later on will provide information on the strategies and tactics they use to pull that off (for a clue, go to the top of the right-hand column of this blog).

Please focus on all the outstanding things our community, and others nearby, have to offer. Here is the latest from the Post reporter Joe Capozzi about the Atlanta Braves organization taking a tour of John Prince Park:
     “We met for 45 minutes and I came away with the impression that they really would like to be here,’’ [County Commissioner Hal] Valeche said.
     If the Braves moved to [suburban] Lake Worth, it would make Palm Beach County the Grapefruit League home to five teams. The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals share Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, while the Astros and Nationals will begin play at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach in 2017.
     That would be the tightest concentration of teams in Florida and rivaled only by Arizona, where 15 teams train within 47 miles.
[and. . .]
     County Commissioner Shelley Vana, who met with the Braves officials Tuesday night at a CityPlace steakhouse, said they told her they had spoken recently with Gov. Rick Scott about returning to Palm Beach County.
     “It’s an amazing opportunity to have a really popular team with a really great following,’’ Vana said.
Now for a short video:

"It ain't over till it's over." --Yogi Berra

JoAnn Golden at the Lake Worth City Commission employs Rule #8 from the "Rules for Radicals"

Here is Saul Alinsky's Rule #8:
"Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new."
After all the political wedge tactics, staged protests, and divisiveness created by JoAnn Golden (using her family's enormous wealth), she said the following at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, 3/22:
"It's been a very divisive time and I hope we can get back to being a city that we're all proud of."
Can you believe it? In the video (below) she first tries to 'draw into question' the engineering plans of Mock Roos, saying their work is, "Not really jiving with me." Then, at the 1:05 mark in the video she claims someone, "gave her the finger" in the chambers that evening. I was there and I didn't see anything like that occur.

Ms. Golden happened to be sitting in the same row as me, right behind The Obtuse Blogger (TOB). The two were whispering and passing notes throughout the meeting. Later on, after asking around, no one else recalls seeing Golden getting "flipped the bird".

At the 1:20 mark in the video she makes the incredulous comment you read above. Watch for yourself:
Beyond hypocritical is it not?

Now let's consider just a few of the things Golden did, prior to the March 15th elections, to make Lake Worth, "a city we're all proud of":
  • Hoping to catch the City and public off guard, she waited until just before the deadline when the right to file a lawsuit against the City and the Gulfstream hotel would have expired (no one was surprised).
  • She's threatening another lawsuit against the City over "the homeless" non-issue, which was another way to divide Lake Worth.
  • She put up the divisive Anarchist candidate, Ryan Hartman, and with her family money financed his campaign.
  • For many, many months she's tried to confuse the public about the City's beach. Have you noticed those red & white signs?
  • She backed the candidate opposing Commissioner Andy Amoroso. Frank McAlonan's campaign literature championed the lies about building heights in Lake Worth and about the beach also.
And that's just the surface. Want to talk about the influence of money in Lake Worth politics?

She is a major source of division in this City. The voters in Lake Worth have noticed that as well. The last election wasn't only a mandate for the majority on the City Commission, it was also a rebuke of the tactics used by people like Golden.

From buisness reporter Susan Salisbury, page B6, in today's print edition of The Palm Beach Post!

It can't be long now, folks, when we read, "Wawa coming to Lake Worth"! 
Just say, "I want my Wawa in Lake Worth!"
A Wawa location on Dixie Hwy, for example, would have a tremendous impact on this City. Just consider the pressure on some coffee establishments in Lake Worth to up their game. Their sandwiches are spectacular and just about everything else is also. And did you know Wawa is on Twitter?

Picture of our newly-seated City Commission from Tuesday night's (3/22) meeting

From the Miami Food Pug—Taste History Culinary Tours: An Eye-Opening Experience

Lake Worth Commissioner Andy Amoroso greets visitors in downtown Lake Worth (his business is located at 600 Lake Ave across the street from Starbuck's)
Lake Worth's Taste History Culinary Tour is featured in the Miami Food Pug and you can read all about that using this link. For information about Taste History and to contact their Executive Director/Chief Curator, Lori J. Durante, that is at the end of this blog post.

Here are excerpts from the Miami Food Pug:

     "Taste History doesn’t just focus on food; you also get a taste of the area’s culture and past — the art league being a major part of that; it’s been around since the 1920s and is still going strong.
Nearby this stop was The Taco Lady. another Lake Worth staple.
     Having set up shop about 14 years ago, the taco lady  — yes, she’s also an actual person — is cranking out legit tacos and other authentic Mexican fare like she runs the place (she does). Not only is the food delicious, but it’s also reasonably priced for the portions. It’s a small shop, so you may have to get your food to go, but it’s soooo worth it."

[and. . .]

     "The final attractions on the Lake Worth part of the tour ended on a high note. With chocolate and BBQ, how could it not? We gained 10 pounds just walking into Hoffman’s Chocolates and looking at their extensive selection of items from giant chocolate bars to chocolate-covered pretzels.
     Blue Front Grill and its pulled chicken, baby back ribs and Mac ‘n cheese helped counter the sweetness from the previous stop. Make sure you visit the backyard. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but holy crap it’s hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. And really nice, too."

Contact information for Taste History Culinary Tour:
Lori J. Durante, Executive Director/Chief Curator
Facebook
Call 561-243-2662 or 561-638-8277
And also on Twitter!

Update: It's happening soon! Get ready for the new wave of illegal political yard signs in Lake Worth!

The new illegal yard sign! First order was for 500!
Political yard signs without a disclaimer are illegal but that hasn't stopped these red and white signs from littering the City for well over a year now:
There are 2 illegal red and white signs. This is the favorite one. Note the absence of a disclaimer.
The "Hands Off Our Beach" meme has been debunked many times over. These signs created visual pollution and undoubtedly contributed to the public's disgust as was clearly evidenced by what happened on March 15th.

It should also be noted that political yard signs are also illegal when there is no individual or issue on the ballot. But that hasn't stopped many, including many who should know better, from flaunting this City ordinance.

So, in the spirit of noncompliance. . . there's also a green and white sign too!
Read why Lake Worth needs PBSO and one of the biggest reasons it was necessary to disband the City's police department.

Meet Lake Worth's new Director of the Water Utility, Brian Shields


We got a chance to meet the new Director of Water Utilities, Brian Shields, P.E. He accepted two proclamations issued by the City Commission at the meeting on Tuesday, 3/22. During the video, towards the end, he answers some questions posed by a commissioner about the City's efforts at water conservation.

It's interesting to watch but we can't escape the reality of the nightly releases of drinking water from bleed-valves installed on fire hydrants. These are especially evident in the College Park area of the City at the far reaches of the water system. These releases of water are necessary to draw additional water through the lines to keep chlorine levels at required levels. Then there are the occasional opening of fire hydrants when the automatic devices are not enough. If this wasn't done a boil water notice may be issued.

Replacing the ancient two inch pipes that distribute water is part of the long-term solution to this problem and there are plans in the works to begin addressing this.

You will be comforted to know the City monitors 60 specific locations for lead contamination and the results are monitored by other agencies as well. Mr. Shields, as you'll hear in the video, states Lake Worth does not have lead contamination in its water.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

From the Post's Kevin Thompson: "Author of upcoming Lake Worth cottages book passes away"

I didn't catch this story that Thompson published on March 18th and if you haven't read it here is the link. It wasn't unexpected news but still very sad. Dean gave everything he had for this City, despite being very ill, right up to the end. This is a huge loss for our City. Here are two excerpts from the article:

Dean Sherwin, author of the upcoming book, “Living Large in Small Spaces: The Cottages of Lake Worth,” passed away Tuesday night (3/15) from pancreatic cancer.
     He was 72.
     Sherwin finished the last chapter of the book while in treatment, according to Taylor Jones, the book’s photographer. The book, which celebrates the city’s eclectic cottage homes is finished and going through a final edit, Jones said.

[and. . .]

     In addition to his wife, Susan Nestler, Sherwin is survived by his three children, Henry, Shauna and Lorna, two brothers, a niece and nephew. He is also survived by two step-children and three step-grandchildren.
     In lieu of flowers, Sherwin requested that donations be made to The Cottages of Lake Worth Book Fund, c/o Janice Snearer, 716 N. Lakeside Drive, Lake Worth, Fl 33460.

First part of last night's (3/22) City Commission meeting: Appointments


After each election, the City Commission acts to appoint the Commissioners and Mayor to various organizations. They also decide who will be Vice Mayor and Vice Mayor Pro Tem. Commissioners Maxwell and Amoroso retained their previous positions. When appointing liaisons to various boards, I thought it was interesting that Commissioner Maier retained his assignment to the Sister City Board, but admitted they don't meet, so it didn't mean that much.

This is the same board that he touted as his experience on City boards, even though he may have attended just one meeting and never took the required ethics training, so he was removed. So noted.

Have an interest in getting involved, helping Lake Worth? How about testing the waters at the Library Advisory Board at 6:00 today (3/23)?

There are many volunteer City boards in Lake Worth from the Sister City Board, Planning & Zoning, and pension boards and they all have their particular and crucial topics to deal with. Some boards handle matters narrow in focus and others require skilled professionals with certain experience such as the Finance Advisory Board. Some meetings are very short and others can last well into the night depending on the agenda.

Later today (3/23) the Library Board meets and below is the agenda along with the location and time:

LIBRARY ADVISORY BOARD: Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at 6:00
City Hall Annex Meeting Room, 414 Lake Ave
across the Cultural Plaza from the Library [some items on the agenda:]
  • Librarian’s report: budget update FY 2017 
  • Approve $30,000 to be used from the Simpkin Trust Fund for FY 2017’s budget 
NOTE: One or more members of any board, authority, or commission may attend and speak at any meeting of another City board, authority, or commission.

This can be a way for someone who has an interest to "test the waters", so to speak and watch and maybe even participate in a City board meeting. Volunteers and the volunteering spirit are what make the City of Lake Worth such a special little City.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The article by Kevin Thompson about Lake Worth in the Post's Sunday special insert on Palm Beach County

Here is a great quote from Thompson's article:
     “Lake Worth is walkable, bike-able, has a ton of amenities for its residents and visitors, as well as an active social calendar,” said resident Tammy Pansa. “You can move here knowing absolutely nobody and end up not being able to walk downtown on Lake Avenue without saying ‘hi’ to at least half a dozen people. It is a city that celebrates culture and diversity. It is a city where I have more neighbors in the truest sense of the word than any other place I have ever lived.”
The article is very good at explaining exciting projects happening, soon-to-happen, and some very tough decisions coming up soon, except the article contains one major error: The Lake Worth Casino wasn't "renovated" as is stated in the column; the Casino as it stands now is new construction (see caption below) and you can read more about that using this link.
The previous Casino structure was 94% demolished. The latest controversy is the newly-discovered Greenwashing of the Casino building that occurred during construction in 2009/2010.
Here are the "Five next big things" mentioned in The Palm Beach Post:
  • The historic Gulfstream hotel redevelopment
  • The Lake Worth Casino: Hard decisions will have to be made to fix the structural problems and the failed business plan from 2009
  • The Park of Commerce which recently received $1.4 million in a Federal grant
  • The Lucenté Townhomes in the downtown next to Publix
  • More Artist Lofts are in the works by the City's CRA
A lot of exciting things are happening and it's a great time to be living in this wonderful little City!

If you have community news in the City of Lake Worth, or if you would like to promote an upcoming event, here is how you contact the Post reporter:
  • Email: kthompson@pbpost.com
  • 561-820-4573
  • Twitter: @kevindthompson1

Could Spring Training baseball come to John Prince Park? Keep the faith folks and sing along with Mel and Vinnie in the video below!

This article by the Post's Joe Capozzi also appears in the print edition of today's (3/22) print edition, page B2, above the fold. Here are two excerpts:
      The Braves have been negotiating with Sarasota County for at least two weeks, but team Chairman Terry McGuirk is scheduled to meet this week with several Palm Beach County and municipal leaders to discuss the chances of the team opening a spring training camp here in 2018.
      “It’s going to take lot of cooperation from a lot of people to get this to happen,’’ said Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana. “This is kind of we-want-you meeting. Let’s talk about how we can do it.’’
      Vana said she and several city leaders, including Lake Worth City Commissioner Scott Maxwell and City Manager Mike Bornstein, will meet with McGuirk Tuesday night [TONIGHT, 3/22; emphasis added].
[and. . .]
     Bornstein said he will push John Prince Park, a county park just west of Lake Worth. In 2015, the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros rejected John Prince Park because it was too small. Bornstein said it would be perfect for one team.
Read this blog post from back in December 2014, that refers to this article by Joe Capozzi published on 12/21/2014. You'll learn why the idea of a 2-team Spring Training facility was challenging given the configuration of John Prince Park. It was noted back then how a 1-team facility would have been ideal. The Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, however, were committed to sharing the same facility (which is now under construction in West Palm Beach).

Here is an excerpt from the Capozzi article in December 2014:
     The southern site would require filling in “navigable waterways” including those connecting Lake Osbourne [sic] to Square Lake, something the teams said in a Dec. 5 letter would take “an enormous permitting effort,” including permits from the Army Corps of Engineers.
     But if the park does come up again, the teams might ask Call [Eric Call, director of Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation] about his baseball background. He said it never came up during meetings earlier this year.
For those who strongly supported Spring Training in John Prince Park keep up the faith! Go grab those colorful baseball caps and be ready for a celebration somewhere with Mel and Vinnie singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!":

"It ain't over till it's over." --Yogi Berra

Monday, March 21, 2016

Another result from March 15th's sweeping landslide victories in Lake Worth: Mike Bornstein will remain the city manager if he chooses to stay

"Michael Bornstein seems to be a happy soul and seems to be happy with the job," [Barbara Jean] Weber said. "I suspect his stamina has not yet been tested."
Ms. Weber quoted by reporter Willy Howard in a Palm Beach Post article titled, New City Manager Michael Bornstein makes welcome changes in Lake Worth, 6/3/2012

Today (3/21/2016) marks 1,435 days* since City Manager Michael Bornstein was hired on April 16, 2012. There is nothing significant about that except as a matter of perspective. The previous city manager, Susan Stanton, was fired on December 6, 2011 after 953 tumultuous and troubled days on the job.

There is still a small, but ever-dwindling group who to this day still lionize Stanton with attempts to resurrect her tenure with delusional logic, misinformation, and outright disinformation. The romantic notion of her Golden Haired era is laughable. Here are some initiatives Stanton supported:
  • The "Day Labor" Center (succeeded)
  • Gutted the Code Enforcement Department (succeeded)
  • The "Street Light" Assessment (failed)
  • Pay to Park in Downtown (failed)
  • Red Light Cameras (failed)
  • Eliminate PBSO and restore the LWPD (failed)
  • The Regional Sewer billing fiasco (super fail)
  • Casino complex fiasco (lack of any oversight and we're still dealing with the failed business plan and the Greenwashing of the project in 2009/2010)
A local blog at the time, referencing the coming Christmas holiday season and the firing of Stanton, wrote:
     "In this joyous season, I am celebrating the potential for renewal in Lake Worth which began with a bold move to clean out city management from the top down.
     From Paul Boyer, Bob Baldwin to Susan Stanton… inept, corrupt, wasteful and often cruel leadership disregarded the public and common sense honesty and openness.
     Yes, I know there are those who are disappointed to see Stanton fired but dwelling on one side of her performance while ignoring the other side of the story… is delusional."
Under direction of then-sitting commissioners (Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden, and Suzanne Mulvehill), Stanton gutted the code department and sent neighborhoods already on the brink on a downward spiral for almost three years. What was undoubtedly one of the worst decisions by Stanton was playing the role of obstructionist trying to thwart the CRA's acquisition of NSP2 funds.

Stanton did not want the CRA to acquire the $23 million dollars available to rehabilitate the City. It was only action by the CRA to apply for the funds that allowed many blighted areas of our City to be home to new residents and families. Subsequently, due to the NSP2 funding, the CRA led by Joan Oliva has received national recognition for their outstanding efforts. As an aside, I was on the CRA board at the time and made the motion to acquire those NSP2 funds.

You can watch Stanton and Mulvehill for yourself in the video below following their failed effort to end the contract with PBSO (video dated May 18th, 2011):
One of the great things to result from last Tuesday's sweeping, landslide victories is that City Manager Bornstein will remain in that position for a long time. If he chooses to stay. And that's where you come in. Email him (copy and past link) at mbornstein@lakeworth.org to let him know how much you appreciate the job he's done for our City.
*That is 3 years, 11 months, and 5 days.

3/21 Today in Florida History from the Florida Historical Society

1949 - WTVJ-TV, Miami’s first television station, aired its first broadcast at noon on this date. It was the first television station in Florida and only the 16th in the entire country. The station was originally owned by Wometco Enterprises and carried all four major networks of that era (NBC, CBS, ABC and Dumont). After 1964, the Jackie Gleason Show was produced at WTVJ. In 1984 Wometco sold the station to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) but by 1987 NBC purchased the station. WTVJ is also the home of local NBC News Channel 6 which received multiple local Emmys for their coverage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

PalmTran to host a presentation by Jarrett Walker, a consulting transit planner, on March 24th

About the author of the Human Transit blog, Mr. Walker:
Since 1991 I've been a consulting transit planner, helping to design transit networks and policies for a huge range of communities.  My goal here is to start conversations about how transit works, and how we can use it to create better cities and towns.
About the meeting this coming Thursday:
     This is part of a new network review initiative from the new [PalmTran] Executive Director, Clinton B. Forbes. Obviously the presentation will touch on Palm Beach County examples, but much of it will be of general interest.
     It’s unusual to have a board meeting noticed as a public event, but PalmTran is encouraging one and all to come. It’s from 1:30 to 3:00 pm at the Boca Raton Municipal Building, 6500 Congress Avenue in Boca Raton. The contact for further info is Steve Anderson, sanderson@pbcgov.org. No RSVP appears to be required.
If you attend the meeting and would like to share your thoughts please email me. My email address is in the right-hand column of this blog. Recently, on another transit topic, I attended the 2016 Safe Streets Summit in Deerfield Beach and you can read about that using this link. A highly informative presentation with many ideas and new concepts for transit, design, and public safety.

Lots going on at today's (3/22) Lake Worth City Commission meeting

Primary on everyone's mind are the tactics and tone that commissioners Maier and McVoy will bring to the dais following the elections. Will they continue the role of obstructionists? Continue trying to scuttle the Gulfstream hotel redevelopment and other projects like the water line replacements on the horizon? It won't take long to find out.

The tactics below from a WWII CIA manual used to monkeywrench enemy governments are eerily similar to those employed by McVoy:
Talk "at great length", "Advocate 'caution' ", discuss "irrelevant issues as frequently as possible", and "raise the question". Will these tactics continue on the dais?
Stay tuned, as they say. Here is information about the meeting tomorrow:

CITY OF LAKE WORTH CITY COMMISSION MEETING
CITY HALL COMMISSION CHAMBER
TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2016, 6:00 PM
1. ROLL CALL
2. INVOCATION: Offered by Pastor Kris Vos, Sunlight Community Church, on behalf of Mayor Triolo

Here are just a few of the items that may interest you:
  • The Sister City Board Liaison report (a personal favorite of Commissioner Maier)
  • A new appointee to the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB)
  • What about the default declaration at the badly constructed/Greenwashed Casino building?
And there's so much more. To see for yourself use this link and scroll down to the agenda, And, as always, Thank You! for visiting my blog, Wes.

Did you catch this excellent news segment from Charlie Keegan about PrideFest?

Charlie Keegan, a reporter for NBC5/WPTV, also has this TV news segment about PrideFest over the weekend:

Beach Concert at the Lake Worth Beach TODAY and Benny's on the Beach gets another rave review

"Lake Worth, FloridaThe City of Lake Worth and The Nine Society present the Kickoff to Spring Break Beach Concert! Please join us Monday, March 21st, 12:00 to 8:00

Pack your beach chairs, coolers, sunscreen and shades! Enjoy live entertainment from Uproot Hootenanny, Octo Gato, Justin Enco and the Poor Life Decisions Band, Neil Freestone & DJ Steve Jones.

A fun event for the entire family! Parking is metered. Event may be cancelled due to inclement weather. For more information please call (561) 533-7395."

And. . . if you haven't heard, Benny's on the Beach was featured once again, this time as one of the "best Palm Beach County restaurants on the beach for breakfast". Here is an excerpt from the food review:
. . . Benny’s on the Beach, where you can dig into Stuffed Red Raspberry Granola French Toast directly over the breaking waves.
     Open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
     10 S. Ocean Blvd., Lake Worth, 561-582-9001

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Call the Stonzek Theatre in downtown Lake Worth and say, "I want Hogzilla!"

If you didn't know, today (3/20) is the last day for the most recent film fest at the Stonzek:
First a little background about Hogzilla!: Dianne Jacques entered the race for mayor and lost huge in last Tuesday's (March 15th) election in an attempt to unseat our newly re-elected three-time Mayor Pam Triolo. It wasn't even close. There wasn't much attention given to Jacques on this blog because, well, there wasn't a whole lot to say. For a while she disappeared from the election scene and some speculated she had dropped out of the race. She missed a number of debates and the campaign reports were, shall we say, interesting.

However, there was one item that did draw a lot of attention: The movie Hogzilla! which was written, directed, and produced by none other than Jacques.

In the biography she supplied to the Neighborhood Assoc. President's Council (NAPC) prior to a candidate debate there wasn't enough space to include this film noir, the movie Hogzilla where it's claimed, "The Other White Meat Bites Back!"

Below is an excerpt from that bio the NAPC published:
Diane Jacques is a veteran film and television producer. Through projects like Sudden Terror for ABC Network and Splitsville for Bravo Network, she’s created millions of dollars in jobs and economic stimuli for numerous Florida communities. She’s struck deals with such luminaries as Ben Stiller, Oliver Stone and Johnny Depp, and is currently developing a cooking show for Inlet Grove High School where she works as a teacher.
Below is the movie trailer for Hogzilla. Enjoy!
The Stonzek Theatre here in Lake Worth should feature this movie some day soon. It would be a huge hit, no doubt.

On the subject of movies in Lake Worth, do you know the classic Body Heat starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner (many think that this film launched her career), Ted Danson, and Mickey Rourke was filmed in downtown Lake Worth? It was! You can read about that using this link.
A scene from the movie Body Heat. William Hurt walks by City Hall in downtown Lake Worth smoking a cigarette on what looks like a hot, humid day.

Watched this video and thought of the River of Grass Greenway through the Florida Everglades

Have you heard about the River of Grass Greenway? Find out more about it here. What a great way to tour the Florida Everglades from Miami to Naples and back again using your own bicycle camper. If this gets the attention of an enterprising entrepreneur this idea might take off: