Saturday, June 25, 2016

EMERGENCY HEALTH ALERT — Share this information throughout your neighborhood:

Please take a sample immediately to 120 North 'G' Street, the intersection of Lake Ave. and the railroad tracks. Or, if you prefer, have a professional stop by TODAY: Call 561-586-1611.

Sans the hysteria. . . From Vox: "Britain is leaving the EU. Here's what that means."

Amazingly, this video by Vox published yesterday already has received nearly 900,000 views.

Summer Programs at the Lake Worth Library

How the program works: 
  • Children ages 2 through 12 can register for a variety of programs.
  • You'll receive a Reading Log to record the titles of the books you read this summer.
  • We'll be offering a variety of programs, giveaways, and contests all summer, so pick up a list of events and drop in as often as possible.
  • Everyone who brings in a Reading Log will receive the Prize of the Week.
For more information call the Library at 561-533-7354 or email lwlibrary@lakeworth.org

Can also follow on Facebook and more on the City's website too.

A look back: You won't believe this letter to the editor [LTE] published in Palm Beach Post

The Brightline (All Aboard Florida) train station currently under construction in West Palm Beach.
Enjoy this letter that got published in December 2015:
Do you think the letter 'V' is "disturbing" and "disrupting the calmness of our state?"
Had a mouthful of coffee which went spewing all over the table when I saw this LTE in the Post. Here is the link if you don't believe this made it into the paper.

My first thought was how happy the LTE wasn't written by a Lake Worth resident. Second thing that came to mind is, "Hey, is that an image of Jesus on my toast?" The letter 'V' IS NOT a logo for Brightline. The image that is "disturbing" to the writer is a replica of one of the architectural structure supports that will hold up the train station. 
Image of proposed Brightline station in West Palm Beach.
Maybe to quell any public anxiety the architects should have turned the supports upside down to form an 'A'?
What do you think? Does the 'A' look better or do you prefer the 'V'? My preference is the 'V'. Would letter 'B' have worked? 

If you would like to opine with a LTE to the Post use this link and follow the instructions closely. Remember: Always follow up and fight for your letter to be published.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Press Release: "For The Children" to celebrate installation of two Little Free Libraries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Lake Worth Little Free Libraries, Inc.
Contact: Mary Lindsey, President
561-585-6035
LakeWorthLFL@gmail.com

     "Reginale Durandisse, Founder and CEO of For The Children, Inc., announces the Grand Opening Ribbon Pulling celebration of two Lake Worth Little Free Libraries on Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:30. The Little Free Libraries were funded by a grant received from Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization and awarded to Friends of the Lake Worth Library group on behalf of the Lake Worth Little Free Libraries project.
     Both Little Free Libraries were painted by neighborhood children and students active in the Osborne Center’s Builder’s Club. One will placed in front of the Osborne School, 1718 South Douglas Street, home base for the many programs offered by For The Children. The other will be placed outside the Youth Empowerment Center adjacent to the Osborne Community Center at 1699 Wingfield Street.
     Everyone is invited to attend the Little Free Libraries Ribbon Pulling celebration which will include a bounce house and water slide for the little ones. Donations of hot dogs, buns, condiments, chips and soft drinks are greatly appreciated. Please contact For The Children at 561-493-1190."

In this week's Lake Worth Herald: Notice of Historic Preservation meeting on Monday, June 27th

[Use this link to learn more about this current topic of discussion in the City.]

NOTICE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the City of Lake Worth, Florida, Planning, Zoning, and Historic Preservation Division will conduct a staff presentation and discussion of historic preservation goals and policies with the following neighborhoods: 
South Palm Park Neighborhood Association 
Bryant Park Neighborhood Association
Monday, June 27, 2016 at 7:00 PM
The Beach Club of the Lake Worth Golf Course
One 7th Avenue North
Lake Worth, FL
     The forum is open to the public, and staff will be seeking input from the residents. Please be advised that Mayor Triolo, Vice Mayor Maxwell, and Commissioners McVoy, Amoroso, and Maier, as well as members of the Historic Resources Preservation Board, may be attending the presentation.
     Written concerns may also be sent to Lake Worth Planning Zoning Historic Preservation at 1900 2nd Avenue N, Lake Worth, FL 33461.
     For additional information, please contact City Staff at 561-586-1687.

From the Tampa Bay Times: "Belleview Biltmore one of five biggest preservation losses on national list"

Will Lake Worth's Gulfstream Hotel become a preservation loss too? Read about that below.

Tracey McManus has this article about the Belleview Biltmore in Belleair, Florida (near St. Petersburg):

     Cheezem [developer Mike Cheezem] said his project, which is salvaging 118-year-old heart pine floors, stained-glass skylights and other fixtures, is a way to preserve the spirit of the resort, even though deterioration made it impossible to save the entire structure.
     The Biltmore's original lobby and three floors of rooms will be remodeled into a 33-room boutique inn for weddings and events at the center of the condominium project.
     "To me, we are making a significant effort and are saving the history and the spirit of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel," he said.
     Cheezem said as developers bought surrounding land over the years, the resort shrunk from 250 acres to 17 and lost waterfront access. It had eight different owners since 1985, and none could transform it back to its glory days, especially as the aging structure began deteriorating. [emphasis added]
     Demolition is about 60 percent complete, and construction on the condominiums will begin in early summer, Cheezem said.

Here are the four other "biggest preservation losses" on the national list:
  • Park Hotel in Detroit
  • Portland Gas & Coke Co. Building in Portland, Ore.
  • Harry Sythe Cummings House in Baltimore
  • Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, N.J.
Hopefully, if all goes well, we won't see our iconic, historic Gulfstream hotel on that list of losses by the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
However, if some like Lake Worth Commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy, PhD, get their way our Gulfstream Hotel will get a date with the wrecking ball; all because of an additional 20' of building height on a tiny vacant parcel of land next to the hotel.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

From PBSO District 14's Quarterly Update to the City Commission:

Click or hover over images to enlarge.
Use this link to see the entire presentation.
Heroin overdoses: 18 Fatal/70 survived.

About the Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment*: "Notice to solicit offers for relocation of building"

"Notice is hereby given to solicit offers by qualified individuals to relocate the two story Art Moderne building located at 14 South Lakeside Drive, Lake Worth, Florida (PCN# 38-43-44-21-033-0050). The building is offered at no cost to purchase with all relocation costs to be paid for by the qualified bidders. [and. . .] Relocation will be required to be completed no later than four months after the close of the advertising period per the Conditions of Approval of HRPB Project #15-00100214 from the City of Lake Worth Historic Resources Preservation Board hearing on March 9, 2016. Interested and qualified parties should send all inquiries to John@livingdesignsgroupfla.com or Hudson Holdings, LLC, 20 South Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444."

*This notice appears in The Lake Worth Herald, edition dated 6/23/2016.

Excerpts from Blueway Trail Coalition Meeting Recap from April

To read the entire recap from the meeting held at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) headquarters use this link. The next meeting is tomorrow (Friday, June 24th) at 10:00 am at SFWMD located at 3301 Gun Club Rd. Here are excerpts from the meeting on April 4th:

An initial update was given confirming the $286,900 dollars in state funding appropriated during the recent Legislative Session and that the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council will be the contracting agency with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the responsible entity for disbursing the funds.

The following topics were discussed:
  • Boat Lift permitting: With the SFWMD present and the Army Corps of Engineers participating via telephone, all the aspects of completing a "408" and "404" permit were discussed.
  • Fishing piers: The fishing piers on the north and south side of the C-51 are currently closed due to disrepair.
  • Boat Lift Design: Because more research is needed before a final determination can be made as to the most suitable, durable and efficient boat lift itself, Chuck Collins with the Marine Industries Association, volunteered to chair a subcommittee to research boat lift design and make a recommendation to the Working Group.
Marketing and promotion of the creation of a new Blueway Trail as well as opening access to the Chain of Lakes has primarily focused upon securing state funding for permit completion. Shifting to community outreach and updating the marketing materials that have been produced to-date is now the focus of Blueway Trail initiative.

Meeting attendees:
Todd Bonlarron, PBC BCC
Dan Clark, Town of Lake Clarke Shores
Chuck Collins, MIA PBC
Laura Corry, SFWMD
Lucine Dadrian, SFWMD
Karen Estock, SFWMD
Dorothy Gravelin, Town of Cloud Lake
Mark Hightower, WPB Fishing Club
Jim Karas, Keith & Schnars
Dave Kemer, State Representative
Tom Lanahan, Greenacres
Charity Lewis, Cong. Lois Frankel
Wally Majors, Boynton Beach
Debbie Manzo, Lantana
Jean Mathews, PBC Parks Dpt.
Alice McLane, Glen Ridge
Richard Pinsky, Akerman, LLC
Melissa Santoro, Senator Clemens
Val Rodriguez, Town of Lake Clark Shores
Kenneth Weming, Keith & Schnars
Bob Vitas, South Palm Beach

Proceed to the next blog post to see the video produced about the Blueway Trail.

"Custer's Last Stand"

On stage at Little Munich in Lake Worth (806 Lake Ave): A literary presentation by author Cynthia Morrison of "Custer's Last Stand" and battle of Little Bighorn is Saturday (6/25 at 7:00), the 140th anniversary of the battle.

Get ready! Pre-Race parties for Great American July 4th Raft Race in little City of Lake Worth

Click image to enlarge. To learn more about the NAPC use this link and they're also on Facebook.
Some of the action that precedes the Raft Race every year. . . the always popular parade:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Notes and observations from last Monday's (6/20) meeting on future of Lake Worth's Historic Preservation efforts*

These community meetings are the result of much negative feedback towards the historic preservation program and its enforcement in Lake Worth. Input is being accepted from the public which will hopefully result in changes to the program. The information collected will be integrated into a report and be the basis for improvements to the code and administration of the program to be reviewed by the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) and ultimately the City Commission.
Sizeable turnout from many in the community. Note there is a news blackout at the Post about this situation despite the 'special attention' we get each and every week.
The staff interacted with the audience and took questions. Here are a few questions from the Parrot Cove/Mango Groves workshop agenda last Monday:
  • Why did you choose to move to Lake Worth and make it your home?
  • What do you like/dislike about your neighborhood?
  • What would you like to see the City do to help improve your neighborhood?
Due to a scheduling conflict I missed most of the meeting but several in attendance took notes and forwarded those to me. What follows is a summary from that information and my observations†:

Many of the complaints were about the length of time it takes to get a permit within a historic district. There was also discussion about the relative importance of the program in light of other factors such as the need for modern impact windows and doors (for storms and security as well), roofs, and our precarious property insurance situation. Many people expressed frustration about the economic impact of living in a historic district. Too many suggestions by City staff are very expensive alternatives that break the budget of many homeowners.

Those in attendance were informed that the historic districts will be resurveyed. The last time this was done was about fifteen years ago. As time passed structures considered non-contributing 15 years ago may now be contributing in next survey. It's my personal opinion that City staffs' approach to non-contributing structures within a historic district is a big reason for the pushback on the entire historic preservation program.

One of the most disturbing things to hear is more grumbling from homeowners wanting to "opt out" of historic districts in the City. A historic preservation program with community support wouldn't be hearing this from its residents. Instead, if the program did have broad public support there would be more talk from other neighborhoods in Lake Worth to "opt in". That is not happening.

Here is a comment from one of those about the meeting:
"Nothing was said that hasn't been said 1000 times. Everything is slow. Nobody calls me back. This thing about having to use more expensive materials is stupid for Lake Worth. 'We're not doing Monticello in Mount Vernon.' Wish I could say that there was something that stood out but it was just the same things we have heard for a long time here."
Besides the time it takes to process an application many expressed how difficult it is to talk to staff and get a dialogue going about alternatives to improve historic homes. There was also a lot of discussion about the ambiguity of the decision-making process and the lack of consistency. William Waters, the City's Director of Community Sustainability, brought up the fact that we don't have a coherent set of design guidelines for our historic districts and that is huge weakness.

Unfortunately, too many times people have bought a property in the City and later learn they're in a historic district. I believe more efforts have to be taken to educate the public (and Realtors!) about the benefits of owning property within a historic district but flexibility is necessary to reach a win-win situation to preserve historic elements without heaping what can be extraordinarily high costs on the homeowner.

In short, a balanced approach.

Don't misunderstand, there are also many positive stories about people's experience with the City and its historic preservation program. There are permits that have a short turnaround time, reports of a two- to three-week time period, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

And lastly: I am optimistic this community discussion will bring about much needed changes. Too many residents are frustrated and yes, angry, with what's happening. For years this situation has been one always close to the 'tipping point' and now that has occurred. Ultimately I believe this important program will become a stronger one with community support with just a few talking about "opting out".

*The next meeting is on Monday, June 27th, at 7:00 by the neighborhoods Bryant Park and South Palm Park and will be held at The Beach Club (located at the City's municipal golf course).
Note that I was former chair of the HRPB; resigned on 7/16/2015.

Take survey about City of Lake Worth's downtown (link below)—Being a resident IS NOT required

The survey is anonymous but would think comments that include a name and address would be given more weight, you would think.

From the City's website: "Anyone who spends time in Downtown Lake Worth is invited to share their thoughts on locals arts and culture. Please take the short anonymous survey."

Here is the link to the survey.

What the survey is being used for: "In preparing for the future, the Lake Worth CRA & the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County engaged Lord Cultural Resources & Jon Stover & Associates to assist in developing an arts & cultural master plan for the downtown Lake Worth area. What will the plan do?
  • Reflect diverse perspectives
  • Support and align with current initiatives and plans
  • Leverage resources & assets
  • Incorporate established goals and objectives for Downtown Lake Worth’s continued growth
  • Articulate a clear path to achieve Downtown Lake Worth’s collective vision
  • Be flexible, actionable & measurable

Blast from past: A former Lake Worth mayor who moved to the well-manicured Great Walled City of Atlantis

If you recall, former mayor Dennis Dorsey was crucial in defeating the LW2020 bond vote in 2014 which would have repaired so many roads and potholes here in Lake Worth. Use this link to learn more.
The CAUT PAC defeated the LW2020 bond vote by just 25 votes. Money spent to benefit the very few here in this City.
Below is an excerpt from this article in the Sun Sentinel by reporter Sally Gelston from May 6th, 1985:

LAKE WORTH — In the three years since Dennis Dorsey resigned under fire from the Lake Worth mayor`s seat, he has not come near a City Commission meeting.
     But Dorsey continues to be perceived as a behind-the-scene political force, said City Commissioner Ron Exline, a member of the anti-Dorsey political faction.
     "Dorsey probably spends more time on city business than some of the commissioners," Exline said. "I think he`s the quarterback of the whole bunch."

From the City of Boynton Beach: A resolution to support the Atlanta Braves in John Prince Park

[UPDATE: Meeting was tabled for a later date. Stay tuned.]

City of Boynton Beach
Commission Meeting Date: 6/21/2016


Proposed Resolution No. R16-076 - Supporting the Atlanta Braves returning to Palm Beach County for their spring training at John Prince Park.

Explanation of Request:

     The City Commission has been asked to consider passing a Resolution in support of the Atlanta Braves returning to Palm Beach County for their spring training.
     The Atlanta Braves trained in PBC from 1963 to 1997 when they moved to Orlando, and now, with their current spring training stadium lease expiring at the end of 2017, they are looking to return to PBC to establish a new spring training stadium.
     All the criteria that were required for a site are met at John Prince Park. According to Palm Beach County, reports show that baseball spring training is a proven economic driver and creates jobs. The proposed stadium as an estimated yearly $95 million return on investment and is predicted to create nearly 1,300 total jobs. Following the construction phase of the stadium, the ballpark is expected to maintain an estimated 1,100 of those jobs.
     It is believed that this type of project aids economic development and enhances our local communities.

Must Read—Case Study: How Delray Beach Made the Transition from “Dullray” to a Vibrant Village by the Sea

Robert Caston from The Park and Facilities blog penned a very long case study about Delray Beach's history vis-à-vis their "Visioning" process. I would recommend you save this link to your browser "Favorites" and read parts at a time. For those of you involved in or interested in the improvements being made of late in Lake Worth you'll find this information enlightening, to say the least. A short excerpt:

Some residents will point to one particular period in the town’s history as an example of how this civic drive was able to push past several obstacles and take the city to the success it experiences today.
“(During this time) It had the bones, but no energy. You could have thrown a bowling ball down the middle of Atlantic Avenue at 5 p.m. and not hit anything,” said former mayor Jeff Perlman.
This was a subject at Jeff Perlman's recent talk given here in Lake Worth.

Palm Beach County now has 39 cities (and no, it's not 'West Lake Worth'*)

Wayne Washington at The Palm Beach Post has this news which has the Palm Beach County Commission as enthusiastic "as one has for a root canal." Here are two excerpts:

     It took five people. Five votes. And now, Palm Beach County has a 39th city — Westlake.
     The new city was officially christened Monday night [6/20], when a canvassing board of the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections certified votes in favor of a plan to convert the Seminole Improvement District into a new city called Westlake.
     A public relations firm working for Minto Communities announced the news, which was greeted by county commissioners Tuesday with as much enthusiasm as one has for a root canal.

[and. . .]

     The move means Minto’s project can have more than the 4,500 homes it told the county it plans to build. Minto could go beyond the massive 2.2 million square feet of non-residential development it had planned for the 3,800-acre tract located west of The Acreage.
     “They will be their own government,” County Administrator Verdenia Baker told commissioners.

*Some in the media, if you've noticed, have now settled on a misleading new meme for all those communities out in western Palm Beach County: the phantom city of West Lake Worth. All this does is further confuse the public.

"These 10 Beachfront Restaurants In Florida Are Out Of This World"

View of Benny's on the Beach from the Stafford Collection.
Benny's is #7 on the statewide list of the Best of the Best. Congratulations!

"For decades, Benny's has been a beachside landmark in Lake Worth. From their location right on the pier, you won't find better views accompanying such creative creations and cocktails." 

IF YOU GO:
Call 561-582-9001
Email: Info@bennysonthebeach.com
Location: 10 South Ocean Blvd, Lake Worth, at THE BEACH!

Special jazz concert honoring Ella Fitzgerald on Saturday, June 25th at the Cultural Council

The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County will host a one-time-only concert featuring international jazz vocalist and recording artist Yvette Norwood-Tiger and her Jazz Ensemble, in honor of Ella Fitzgerald.

The ensemble features pianist and musical director Rick Moore of Jupiter Jazz Society, Burt Boice on contra bass, and Jose Roman Duque on drums, plus special guest trumpeter Michael Mackey, who is a senior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

IF YOU GO
Date: Saturday evening, June 25, 2016
Location: Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, 601 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth
Time: 7:30– 9:30
Admission: $20.00 per ticket. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by phone in advance, 561-471-2901.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Video, March 11, 2015: Mathew Staver of the Liberty Council in Orlando represents a pastor in Lake Worth

Read about Orlando's Liberty Council in Associated Press. Proceed to the 1:30 mark in the video below. At the 3:45 mark a 'homosexual activist' (a Lake Worth Commissioner) is discussed.

Next meeting to discuss future of historic preservation efforts in Lake Worth is scheduled

Note: For what's going on vis-à-vis these community meetings you'll only find that information on this blog. To read about the meeting held on Monday, June 20th, check back tomorrow. Although was unable to attend most of the meeting (I showed up near the end) several people in attendance sent me notes and observations and I'll share those along with other information.

The next meeting is on Monday, June 27th, at 7:00 by the neighborhoods Bryant Park and South Palm Park and will be held at The Beach Club (located at the City's municipal golf course) to begin the process of gaining consensus on historic preservation in Lake Worth, developing a successful historic preservation program that will have broad-based community support.

These meetings follow the discussion at the Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) meeting on May 18th. Read about that using this link.

"Lake Worth Receives Funding for Drinking Water Infrastructure"

You can find the news below and more on the City's website and for more about work being done look in the right-hand column for "City's water/electric meter replacement project" or use this link.

     "The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program recently executed a $568,432 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan to assist the City of Lake Worth with replacing water pipes in their distribution system. Over 17 miles of 2″ corroded water pipes will be fixed by replacing with them with larger 4″ piping designed for long-term use. This will provide better quality water to approximately 12,000 residences. It is the first phase of a six phase project expected to be completed over the next five years with a total estimated project cost of $14.8M.
     Florida's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with joint funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Florida."

Will Delray Beach's Garlic Festival organizers be looking for a new city to host their event?

This editorial in the Delray Newspaper is strongly in support of keeping the Garlic Festival in Delray Beach but it might not be enough to have it come back in the future. Jeff Perlman had a recent talk in Lake Worth and he briefly mentioned this situation. On Facebook and other social media this is creating some buzz in Lake Worth and will let you draw your own conclusions as to why.

Here are two excerpts:

     Delray Beach’s Garlic Festival is being pushed out of Delray Beach.
     The 18-year-old event, which has been featured on the Food Network, regularly draws large crowds and raises needed funds for local schools and non-profits has been told to pack its bags as a result of a decision by a newly formed Special Events Task Force Advisory Committee—and pressure from members of the City Commission.
     On Tuesday [today, June 21st], at 6 p.m. the event’s founder and longtime producer Delray Beach Arts Inc. will appeal the decision to City Commissioners. Citizens who like the Garlic Fest need to speak up now.

[and. . .]

     As for costs, certainly they need to be looked at but a cost structure that puts events out of business seems overly harsh and unnecessary. The city needs to consider the benefits of events as well as their costs. And there are benefits, arguing otherwise is plain wrong.
     It seems as if event producers have made a good faith effort to mitigate concerns and inconveniences. They should be thanked not chased out of town.

From Compass: The Stonewall Ball is this Saturday

"Saturday, June 25 at Harriet Himmel in City Place is our annual celebration of the LGBTQ community, our achievements, and our relationship with local political candidates and elected officials. This year we will be working with the mayor and police department of the City of West Palm Beach to ensure the safety and security of all attendees. We appreciate people's patience with these new screening procedures. We are grateful for the partnership with West Palm Beach law enforcement.

Dress is black and white with a pop of purple.

General admission tickets are $35 in advance for entrance at 9:00. VIP reception tickets include a drink ticket & the leadership award ceremony; this ticket costs $75 for entrance at 7:30. Tickets can be purchased online through Friday or in person at Compass Community Center, Mad Hatter, Penny's at the Duke, Roosters, Fort Dix, Studio 205 or Rolando Chang Barrero Art Gallery. Tickets at the door Saturday will cost $40 for general admission."

From the Tampa Bay Times: "Despite controversy, Florida wildlife officials recommend second bear hunt"

The Tampa Bay Times, if you didn't know, has been awarded 12 Pulitzer Prizes. Below is an excerpt from this article by Craig Pittman:

     Biologists for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are recommending their bosses approve a second bear hunt, but one that is more limited in scope than what took place last fall.
     The commission meets June 22 in Apalachicola, where its agenda includes a discussion of whether to hold a second hunt at all. The seven board members could end the hunt entirely or pause it for a year. Their staff is recommending neither, choosing a revised hunt instead.
     "The staff recommendation is to continue to use hunting to slow the growth of bear populations," said Diane Eggeman, director of the hunting division, in a memo made public just before 5 p.m. Friday. "The new hunt format … would be modified to increase precision and accountability."

For the TBT home page use this link and can also follow on Twitter:

News on more efforts to clean the environment in Florida: "FPL looking to purchase Indiantown coal-fired plant"

Susan Salisbury at The Palm Beach Post has this news and two excerpts from the article:

     Florida Power & Light Co. wants to purchase a coal-fired power plant in Indiantown for $451 million and immediately reduce the plant’s operations with the intention of eventually shutting it down.
     Juno Beach-based FPL filed a petition Monday with the Florida Public Service Commission proposing to purchase the ownership interest in the 330-megawatt Indiantown Cogeneration facility at 13303 S.W. Silver Fox Lane.
     FPL is requesting PSC approval of the purchase by December, so that the purchase can be completed as soon as possible to maximize customer savings.

[and. . .]

     FPL expects to operate the facility minimally through the end of 2018 as needed. After the expected addition of a new natural gas pipeline system into Florida in 2017 and with the high-efficiency natural gas-fired FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center entering service in 2019, FPL believes that the Indiantown Cogeneration plant will no longer be economic and plans to retire the facility years sooner than it otherwise would have been.

Interesting things on today's City Commission agenda

City Commission Meeting
City Hall Commission Chamber
Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 6:00 pm
1. Roll Call
2. Invocation or Moment of Silence: Dr. Rev. Leah Brown* from MCC Church on behalf of Commissioner Amoroso

[later. . .]

9. Consent Agenda (public comment allowed during Public Participation of NonAgendaed items)
A. Resolution No. 32-2016 - application for FY 2016 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding
B. Ratify a board member to the City Tree board

[later. . .]

12. New Business
A. Interlocal Agreement between the City and the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency to establish the Residential Conservation and Rehabilitation Program
B. Ordinance 2016-22 first reading establishing an Arts Advisory Council.
C. Ordinance 2016-21 first reading establishing an Education Advisory Council.
D. Resolution No. 33-2016- Directing the development of a preliminary assessment roll for non-ad valorem assessments levied for the costs of unpaid lot clearing, board and secure, and demolition special assessments and the establishing of the date and time of a public hearing to adopt the final assessment roll. 

[and later. . .]

G. Follow Up Discussion of City's Surplus Properties Disposition

*Rev. Leah Brown was to give the invocation last September 15th but she arrived too late. The City Commission begins the meeting at 6:00 sharp.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Angels have arrived!

From VICE News, 'Angels' blocked anti-gay protesters from Orlando shooting victim's burial:

     "The four anti-gay protesters were from the homophobic Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church. They raised signs with anti-gay slogans outside the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, where services took place for Christopher Leinonen, who was one of those killed in the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
     Police formed a line between the Westboro protesters and the hundreds of funeral attendees, who included members of the LGBTQ community, priests, bikers, and locals.
     The crowd cheered when members of Orlando's Shakespeare Theater wearing huge 'angel wings' showed up to block out the Westboro protesters."

A look back: "Why I boycotted the Casino groundbreaking at the beach"

The blog post below is originally from May of 2011. Read what follows and then click this link to see the latest. Then think about all the potholes and road repairs that could have been made had all those millions of dollars not been wasted in the first place:

I took a page out of the Cara Jennings' playbook and boycotted the groundbreaking ceremony today. My Facebook status was that I was busy shampooing my hair and couldn't attend. I understand from those that attended it was all about how this project represents the City's effort at preserving history. I choose not to be there this morning as I did not want to contribute to the widespread fraud that this project represents. Here's a short list of reasons why this is the case:
  • The building that is there now has historic value and would be eligible for listing on the National Register. Due to the deteriorated state of the building, the existing building is being DEMOLISHED. What we will see when the project is finished is a new building in an "old" style, but it isn't old.
  • Current commissioners campaigns were won on the theme of "Restoring the Casino Building" which is not what is happening.
  • The City will be pouring $6 million plus into this building that will be built on an existing slab foundation that will wash away in a major storm event. By not calling this "new construction" as termed by the building official, the city is getting around the requirements for the building to be built on pilings as required by the city's own Zoning Code.
  • This is contrary to the "managed retreat" talked about in former Commissioner Cara Jennings' presentation which was about the importance of moving the building behind the coastal construction line.
  • The City has an active lawsuit related to a previous plan to redevelop the property and has spent a quarter of a MILLION dollars defending it, with no end in sight. The City may end up paying a large judgement for breaking the contract with its private sector partner. Could the library use $250,000? Yes, it could.
  • Construction is being financed by the City's "cash portfolio" and will be taken out by a yet-to-be-defined permanent loan.
  • Former citizen Christopher McVoy, now a commissioner, peddled a petition around the City to repeal the land use and zoning designation of "Beach and Casino", which never went to a referendum, but was used as a tool to propagate and spread myths about what was gong on in the City and used it as an accomplishment in his campaign literature for his commission seat.
This video summarizes the hypocrisy associated with this project, including it being used as a way to keep John G's in its current location:

Breaking! There's a new city in Palm Beach County called "West Lake Worth"

Of course there's no such thing as "West Lake Worth". It's sad when newer reporters to the Palm Beach County news scene don't know municipal borders and come up with designations that are misleading and confusing to the public.

Reporters need to be trained not to rely on zip codes because 'Lake Worth' extends way out west of the Turnpike but they keep on getting it wrong. For examples look in the right-hand column for More false news about crime "in Lake Worth" or use this link.
The zoning map of the City of Lake Worth. Locations outside the City are called "suburban Lake Worth".

From Gabrielle Sarann at NBC5/WPTV: "Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths came together" at MCC

Note that Rev. Dr. Brown will be giving the invocation at Lake Worth's Commission meeting tomorrow (Tuesday). Below is an excerpt from the text of the story by WPTV:

     An LGBT church in Palm Beach Gardens held a prayer service honoring the 49 lives lost.
Members of the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths came together at the Metropolitan Community Church.
     The faces of 49 innocent victims that never made it out of Pulse nightclub last Sunday shined by candlelight.
     The names of each one was read aloud.
     Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, senior pastor of the church, says the shooting has caused unbelievable sorrow for her congregation. “We just go through waves of grief and frustration and rage and grief,” said Brown.

"Palm Beach County sports leaders to keep local hotel rooms full"

The little City of Lake Worth is missing out on all of this. All because a few malcontents filed a lawsuit to stop the Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment. Isn't that sad? To read more about this look in the right-hand column "For facts on building height in Lake Worth" or use this link.

Here is the latest from the Post's Jennifer Sorentrue on efforts to draw tourists to Palm Beach County during the Summer months:

     As Florida’s tourism season enters the slow summer months, Palm Beach County sports leaders plan to keep local hotel rooms full by hosting thousands of out-of-town athletes.
     The Palm Beach County Sports Commission will play host to more than 50 youth and amateur sporting events this summer, giving local sports fan an opportunity to see some of the country’s most talented competitors.
     The summer events serve as a buoy for local hotels [emphasis added], boosting occupancy rates just as the busy winter tourism season comes to a close, tourism leaders say. The events, which feature 25 sports, are expected to draw tens of thousands of athletes and their family members to Palm Beach County.

Part 3: Jeff Perlman's thoughts about the City of Lake Worth and Delray Beach

"If you find yourself catering to complainers that do not have solutions you are going to face a quick descent."
—Jeff Perlman from his talk in Lake Worth.

First a recap: This is the third and final blog post about the talk given by Jeff Perlman in Lake Worth on June 14th.
You may be interested to know Perlman wrote a book titled, "Adventures in Local Politics" and the profits from the book go to the charity Dare 2 Be Great.

If you recall, a group of Lake Worth residents joined Perlman in downtown Lake Worth and he talked about his time in Delray Beach as a community leader, journalist, a commissioner and then the mayor. The theme that ran through the entire talk was how important it is to forge your own City identity. One of the things stressed during Delray's visioning process was not becoming another high-rise community like Boca just like most of us in Lake Worth do not want to be a clone of Delray Beach or any other city.

Later in this post he talks about Lake Worth's strengths and weakness. There were other topics he covered which I will get to first.

He talked about Naples and how their Fifth Avenue downtown has gone through many changes and they created a business improvement district. The business district taxes itself and there was an interesting development: now businesses outside the district want to be part of it because they see the tangible results with so many physical improvements and a positive future.

If a business makes an investment the expectation is there will be a return and the same is true in a community visioning process. Change is going to happen and cannot be stopped but rather incorporated in a city's plans for the future.

Regarding education Perlman talked about how poor performing the schools were in Delray  The city created an education liaison specialist as part of the staff. The old high school's physical plant was in deplorable condition. Students would go all day not using the bathroom since they were usually flooded. The Spady School back in the early 2000's was an elementary school surrounded by crack houses. Ultimately they remade the school with a magnet Montessori program.

Improving schools was crucial, Perlman explained, because they were having a difficult time attracting good teachers and it was a hard sell convincing families to move into the city. They built a new high school and the Andover residential development paid for part of the improvements because they were finding it difficult to sell homes. He went on to say the middle school still has issues to address. Perlman made the point a city has to address education issues constantly. Briefly, on charter schools, sending your children to a private school is like a tax on top of what you pay for property values.

On city meetings he remarked about Wednesday morning after a meeting Tuesday night. The day after will provide momentum and impact concerning the issues of the day. If one issue is sober homes, for example, reach out to people that are trying to find solutions in their neighborhood and find ways to help them.

The fight over the Seagate Hotel was an ugly one but in the end it was a catalyst for Delray. A lot of time was devoted to calming the public, overriding all the negativity, rumors, and reminding everyone about their compelling vision. Now everyone loves the Seagate and it's universally recognized as a huge success. (I strongly believe the same will be said of the Gulfstream Hotel in future years. I'll save any more comments about the Gulfstream for a later date.)

Perlman said he used to keep lists of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and a threats analysis in his drawer he would update every couple of weeks. There are always things that you can't anticipate like the massacre in Orlando and it's important to get out there and find out how the public is reacting to incidents such as this.

He took a stab at Lake Worth's strengths and weaknesses as an outsider and made these points about strengths:
  • Lake Worth has many amenities including a "fantastic waterfront" on the Intracoastal
  • A "real downtown" with two main streets
  • Historic cottages that remain affordable
  • A walkable downtown and our own beach
  • An engaged citizenry
  • Central location in Palm Beach County
Weaknesses he identified are:
  • Crime and vagrancy
  • More residential density is needed "which creates more eyes on the street"
  • The City needs more downtown housing to support the businesses in the downtown commercial core area
  • A lack of industry
And. . . drumroll please:
"Lake Worth always seems to be on the verge but somehow cannot reach its potential."
The biggest threats he said were a resistance to risk-taking and the City has many infrastructure issues to solve. Some of you will recall this from an editorial in The Palm Beach Post:
The editors at the Post were right on in their critique vis-à-vis the LW2020 bond vote in 2014 that failed by just 25 votes.
Then there's this sage advice that needs to be hammered home from Perlman's blog:
"What it takes for an elected official to succeed."
In conclusion I would like to thank Jeff Perlman for taking his time to share his thoughts about Lake Worth. Judging from the positive texts, phone calls and emails he got a lot of people thinking and talking too. That's exactly what's needed to solve our pressing issues in this little City of Lake Worth that has "so much potential".

Too good. . .

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Finally, the Post addresses the Casino fiasco at the Lake Worth beach

Everything in The Palm Beach Post article that appears in today's (6/19) print edition ('B' section) is the Cliff Note version of what's been reported on this blog and The Lake Worth Herald. Nothing new. Look in the right-hand column for, "Casino debacle finally nearing an end?" or use this link.

The City Commission meeting referred to in the Post article occurred on June 7th, nearly two weeks ago. Also, it's sort of a letdown this assignment wasn't given to a business reporter like Alexandra Clough or Jeff Ostrowski to do a more thorough report with more background.

It was reported in the article the vote was a 3-1 (Commissioner Amoroso not present) to move the decision to October to file the lawsuits and Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell voted "No". To be clear, Maxwell didn't want to delay the decision any longer ergo his vote.

Anyhow, below are two excerpts from the article by beat reporter Kevin Thompson and note the words "demolish and repair the building". How is that possible?:

     A visibly upset Maxwell, the most vocal commissioner on the issue, called the situation laughable.
     “I just don’t get this,” he said. “This is a multi-million construction company and you can’t figure out how to keep water out of a building. It’s unacceptable.”
     Michael Olenik, Morganti’s vice president of corporate affairs and chief compliance officer, said the company is making the casino a top priority.

[and. . .]

     The project has put a strain on the city’s finances. [emphasis added] It 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 all the building’s structural problems.

This video below published to YouTube on June 8th is an eye-opener:
Then there's this one that needs no explanation:
An interesting comment was published at the end of the Post article. A reader of my blog?

"Tear it down and start all over. They'll spend more money trying to fix structural issues and engineering flaws along with legal fees for the lawsuit which will drive the contractor into bankruptcy and will produce no money. Better to start with a clean slate and get it engineered properly, then build a more aesthetically pleasing building."

Anyone remember Greater Bay?
'Architects' of the Casino fiasco. Interesting to note that Comm. Chris McVoy, PhD, was not mentioned in the Post article. But every other elected present at the meeting was.

Information to share in Lake Worth*

You heard it here first: A new version of red/white signs will be out soon!

"Dear Wes, when I see a homeless person that needs help I tell them to ask a PBSO deputy where to go, go to a church, or look for a house with a red and white sign that says 'HANDS OFF OUR BEACH'. It's a secret symbol that really means the homeowner will offer them sanctuary. Spread the word."
[*NOTE: This is a re-post as a public service. Cannot vouch for accuracy of this information. Scroll down for new content. As always Thank You for visiting my blog, Wes.]
Note: There will soon be three versions of the 'sanctuary' sign. Both have a solid red background with boldface white (sans serif) lettering such as the ones shown above.

Today, Father's Day, Dad's swim free from noon to 4:00

The news below is from The Lake Worth Herald*:

"Lake Worth Casino Swimming Pool will honor all dad’s on Sunday, Father’s Day.
     All dad’s will have free entry to the pool from Noon to 4 p.m. Balls, diving rings, hula hoops will be set up to swim through, along with plenty of noodles for pool fun.
     Baby pool is open with plenty of shade. Bring a picnic and eat by the pool, swimmers may also leave pool area, eat and return."

More information about the pool:
  • Admission: Resident adults $4, nonresidents adults, $5. Resident youth ages 4–17 $3, non-resident $4. Babies 0–3 free.
  • Hours: Monday–Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Teens ≥15 years old now permitted in pool without a parent. Those ≤14 must still have adult supervision.
  • For more information on classes, passes or general information call 561-585-6858.
*To subscribe to the Herald use this link or pick up the print edition at the City's newsstand located at 600 Lake Ave. in the downtown.