Saturday, December 31, 2016

As the non-story about Hoffman’s Chocolate fades into obscurity. . . there’s a new market on Dixie Hwy.!

Just in case you missed this blog post (see below) from yesterday. . . I haven’t been to the De Vine Market as yet but apparently a lot of my blog readers have. Received several calls and emails yesterday from those who are just thrilled about this new business and I will go there some time next year, errr, next week, in 2017!

Wish everyone a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year. Thank You all for visiting my blog—2016 was a popular year for this blog in this little City of Lake Worth: Recently went over 2,000,000 views.

Stay positive about Lake Worth. There’s a lot to be positive about. And there’s still a lot of work to be done in 2017. Get involved. Stay involved. Try to attend a City Commission meeting or City board meeting. Attend at least one of the upcoming debates prior to the elections in March. Contact your neighborhood association and learn more about what they do. And always remember to SHOP LOCAL! too.

Wish everyone a Happy New Year,

Wes

[the blog post from yesterday follows. . .]

The latest news from The Lake Worth Herald is below.

News in this week’s Herald: Stop by and meet Chip and Andrea, the owners of De Vine Marketplace here in Lake Worth.

Nestled off of Dixie Highway is a New York style farm market. De Vine Produce Marketplace is located at 318 North Dixie. The couple has lived in the area for just over ten years relocating from rural Eastern Long Island.
     Since moving to Florida they had missed the ‘farmhouse markets’ and wanted to bring a little of their past to Lake Worth.

[and. . .]

     Enter the marketplace and the colors surround you. The arrangements of fruits and vegetables are carefully placed to please the eye. Displays of various fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables and cheeses greet customers as they peruse the aisles.
     Many of the fruits and vegetables are offered in an organic variety also. There are varieties of jellies, spices, juices, honey, and white truffle oil, to name a few. De Vine Marketplace also carries a wide variety of Latin products.
     The atmosphere is very friendly, the conversation delightful and if you have any questions about what to do, Andrea will offer ideas for fruit and vegetable pairings to delight the palate, and she is willing to explain the benefits of the various fruits and vegetables.

[and. . .]

     Visit De Vine Marketplace for the freshest produce at the best prices.

Downtown Lake Worth (Lake Avenue and ‘L’ Street c. 1971): The Lake Theater

The Cultural Council is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00–5:00 (closed Sunday and Monday). Call 561-471-2901 for more information. Plenty of free parking available. Use this link for more helpful information.

When you go to the Cultural Council in Downtown Lake Worth for the new exhibit, “15 Surfboards by 15 Shapers”, well, some things to think about as you’re walking around town:

The Cultural Council building, how it looked circa 1971.

How the building looks today:

Photo courtesy of the Jim Stafford collection.

Here’s another image soon after the building was constructed:


It turns out the architect was Roy Benjamin and almost all he did was movie theaters in Florida and Georgia in late 1930’s through the 1950’s. Below is one of his designs in Pahokee called the Prince Theater. You can see striking similarities to the structure in downtown Lake Worth.

A message from Abigail “Abby” Goodwin: Stay tuned for more news in January.

Look for details about the Lake Worth community kick-off plans in the New Year. Again, Palm Healthcare Foundation is looking forward to supporting YOUR community change!”


For more information contact Abigail Goodwin, Vice President, Grants & Community Investments
  • Center for Philanthropy
  • 700 South Dixie Highway, Suite 205, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
  • Office: 561-833-6333
  • Cell: 561-837-2279
  • Email: agoodwin@phfpbc.org
     “I’m very pleased to share news that Healthier Lake Worth will be launching in January 2017! On behalf of Palm Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the foundation’s Community Investment Committee and foundation staff as well as the greater Healthier Together family, we are very excited to be working with you to improve health in your community and neighborhoods.”

[and. . .]

     “Four other Palm Beach County communities are currently engaged in this work. We will be bringing forward their experiences to support the process in Lake Worth.”

Worth Another Look: January 1st, 1942. Celebrating the New Year at our Gulfstream Hotel: “Everything Florida Has — We Have”

Short on time? Scroll down to see the “Gala New Year’s Party” and other images from 75 years ago and, as always, Thank You for visiting and have a Happy New Year! Thought you might be interested in a tour I took of the hotel four years ago while under previous ownership. Toured the hotel from top to bottom and the structure is indeed impressive. From the roof the views are vast of “the Palm Beach Area” (note the first image below).

The roof was (and still is) used by a cell phone company with an array of equipment outside and inside the building that made a constant ‘whirring’ sound. The hallways and stairs I noticed were completely clear of any debris or obstructions but the individual rooms were torn apart like they were being renovated. It was like the crew doing the work went on lunch break, years ago, and haven’t returned to finish the work. On the top two floors there was some water damage which is to be expected.

Interestingly, the hotel had running water when I was there. The rooms have very small bathrooms, tiny closets, and barely enough room for common amenities the modern-day hotel customer is accustomed to. Most of the rooms I looked through were on the top four floors and surmised all the hotel’s rooms were in a similar condition. 

The lobby and first floor are incredible and you can imagine a visitors’ joy arriving to the hotel fresh off a Henry Flagler train to escape the northern cold. Most of the first floor, when I was there, was being used for furniture storage and it was all kept in an orderly fashion. Below the hotel’s first (main) floor is the boiler room and maintenance areas and that was like a step back in time, like a movie scene from the 1930s or 1940s.

I’ve made this observation many times on this blog and will do so once again: it’s a near miracle the hotel is still standing tall in our downtown. So many of these historic structures are long gone now and are just memories in a book or computer file that nobody, or very few, care to look at any more. 

I hope you enjoy at look back at New Year’s Day at the Gulf Stream Hotel 74 years ago:

“Everything Florida Has — We Have”
New Year’s Dinner at the Gulf Stream Hotel: January 1st, 1942.
The Gala: New Year’s party on the Gulf Stream Patio and Cocktail Lounge: December 30th, 1941.

UPDATE: Our municipal pool will re-open TODAY at 9:00!

The pool is scheduled to be closed on Sunday, New Year’s Day and the following Monday and Tuesday.

Don’t forget: the new pool heaters are up and working wonderfully. Hope to see everyone back tomorrow:

Image from the file, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

Friday, December 30, 2016

More history of hotels in Palm Beach County

Henry Flagler’s Whitehall mansion on Palm Beach once had a 300 room, 10 story hotel built to the west of the original structure. This comes from the collection of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. The hotel was removed in the early sixties and the property was bought by Jean Flagler Matthews, one of Flagler’s grand-daughters.

“My future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. Know what I’m talking about?”

Is the light too bright? Then wear those shades! For the latest exhibits at the Cultural Council in Downtown Lake Worth, parking, and the Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store use this link.
Ben Vereen says in the video below, “Our future is so bright we have to wear shades because the goodness is coming to us if we but stand still and receivvvvvvvvvve it and get out of our own way.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Appropriate today. Commissioners Ryan Maier and Andy Amoroso in their own words.

Consistently, week after week, the blog post below is one of the most-viewed. Why? Draw your own conclusions.

First, a brief explanation about what you’ll read and see for yourself below. Commissioner Ryan Maier at the City Commission discussion about a “curbstoning” ordinance last September used the “Red Herring” tactic to try and confuse the public by linking the issue of selling used cars illegally with aggressive panhandling. City Attorney Glen Torcivia did a real good job of keeping the discussion on point, explaining that this ordinance is a simple yet necessary change to an existing one, already used by the County to curb the illegal selling of used cars.

However, Maier used this item on the agenda as a way to bring up his most important topic of all, to the exclusion of all others, the homeless. In Maier’s world view the rights of the homeless trump all others.

So far it’s unknown whether Commissioner Maier will seek re-election or not. But if you’re OK with aggressive panhandling and public urination (remember, “It’s not that big a deal) then Maier is the candidate for you.

Commissioner Maier:
     “I do not support aggressive panhandling ordinances.
     “I cannot see any definable loss through aggressive panhandling except that it’s maybe annoying. Commissioner Amoroso:
     “Aggressive panhandling means somebody that’s literally following someone down the street.
     “It does affect my business, the downtown businesses, City as a whole . . . and it’s the same ones over and over and over.

Historic Lake Worth Beach and Casino Pictures/Postcards

Click on images to enlarge.






Lygodium, the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, and a Letter to the Editor that sums things up quite nicely.

First, have you always wanted to have your “Letter to the Editor” published in the newspaper? Maybe tried once or twice before and were unsuccessful? Below you’ll find information that will greatly increase your chances of accomplishing getting published. Maybe even have your letter published this Sunday, Christmas morning! How cool would that be?

Anyhow, back to the topic, on the Lygodium (climbing fern) infestation in the Loxahatchee Refuge this Letter to the Editor appeared in the Post recently titled, “Fed oversight turned refuge into a mess”; here are two excerpts:

     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is big on species management, but it seems to me that the single species they are managing to keep healthy in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is Lygodium, which, ironically, is killing all the other species in the refuge.
     I give credit to FWS for their work to regulate and review permits that help protect wildlife across the country. As land managers, however, they are third-rate. [emphasis added] The Lygodium infestation blanketing tree islands and making an impassable mess of dead vines that entangles wildlife on the ground didn’t happen overnight.

[and. . .]

     I understand budgets are tight, but the management at this federal agency hasn’t had the foresight to so much as ask our Congress for money to fix the problem. In the end, this will cost everyone more money when the entire refuge becomes a Lygodium farm.
     I don’t know the exact answer, but the answer needs to be one that saves the Everglades and saves the refuge.

JIM HARVEY, WEST PALM BEACH

If you didn’t know, one of the most prolific and published contributors to the Post editorial page is Lake Worth’s own Drew Martin. How does he do it? He knows the trick: You have to follow up with the editor!

There are other things you can do as well. Please read these instructions (written for residents of Lake Worth but really apply to any City in the County). Get started on your letter today. Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Once again: The expert’s “5 tips” to get your Lake Worth business and/or event promoted in the Post

The “Five Tips”* are below. First, here is a quote from this article in today’s (12/28) Palm Beach Post print edition titled, “Online shopping hurts Lake Worth retailers over holidays”:

“We had days where we were super busy and those when it was really quiet,” said Carrie Childs, a store co-owner [CarriElle's Closet, 9 North ‘K’ Street]. “We should have advertised or done more promotion.” [emphasis added]

For an example how promotion works, on December 16th Post Staff Writer Alexa Silverman wrote an excellent article about “The Cottages of Lake Worth” book signing at the Cultural Council in Downtown Lake Worth. They sold almost 40 books that afternoon! So try contacting Silverman about your business or upcoming event and see what happens: email the reporter at asilverman@pbpost.com

There are other reporters at the Post who have penned very successful articles about Lake Worth businesses. Have you tried contacting Jennifer Sorentrue?† Jeff Ostrowski? Eddie Ritz? Liz Balmaseda?

Without further ado, from Antonio Fins, the Business Editor, the five tips:
  1. Know whom you want to reach out to, the editor writes, “. . . the trick is reaching to the right journalist.” For example, sending information to a beat reporter may not be the best option. Have you considered a business reporter?† An entertainment reporter?
  2. Who’s your audience? “So, tell us how many followers do you have on Twitter? How many friends/fans do you have on Facebook?”
  3. Local, local, local, “. . . there must be a direct and definite Palm Beach County connection.”
  4. Newsmakers, “Some of the best-read content we produce isn’t on the front page.” For example, per the Business Editor, the “weekly Newsmakers section”.
  5. Video, “So if your business has ‘good visuals,’ drop in a link to some B-roll video that we can attach to the story.”
Think you’re ready to get your business noticed in the Post? Then get cracking. It’s a very competitive business environment:

Last August IN FOCUS: LAKE WORTH” by beat reporter Kevin Thompson was all about “Icy treats” at a gas station located where? In Lake Worth? No. In Palm Springs!

Have questions or need more information? Send an email to the Post’s business editor: afins@pbpost.com

*This information was first published in the August 28th Sunday print edition, ‘D’ section, Local Business, front page above the fold.
Would it be better to contact a dedicated business reporter? Take for example this recent news by Jennifer Sorentrue about a new business here in Lake Worth. For a Lake Worth restaurant review try contacting Jeff Ostrowski: use this link for his latest, most recent review.

A Look Back. The Street Painting Festival. An email from March 3rd, 2016:

Hello Maryanne [Webber] and Nadine [Burns]:

Congratulations on your wonderful event this year. I just received a number of 3,550 riders on the shuttle bus service we provided. This is a big increase from last year
s 2,100. You werent kidding about an increase in demand. The train ridership also reflected an increase in passengers making 2/20 #5 in all time Saturday ridership and 2/21 #7 in all time for Sundays.


This was actually my first year attending and it was a whole lot of fun even with the little rain. 

Kudos! Looking forward to hearing about your results.
 
Victor O. Garcia
Corporate and Community Outreach Manager

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority/Tri-Rail

Lake Worth Street Painting Festival, Saturday, February 22nd, 2014.

[If I recall, no one was complaining to a reporter that day.]

Must see exhibit at the Cultural Council in Downtown Lake Worth: “15 Surfboards by 15 Shapers”

Exhibit runs through January 21st (details below):

Main number is 561-471-2901. The Council is at corner of Lake Ave. & ‘L’ Street. Plenty of free street parking nearby and a free parking lot behind Paws on the Avenue (across the street).

Learn more about the exhibit using this link:

“This exhibition features surfboards transformed into one-of-a-kind works of art, resulting from collaborations between artist Tony Arruza and surfboard hand-craftsmen from around the world.”
  • Location: Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, 601 Lake Ave., Downtown Lake Worth
  • Time: 10:00–5:00, Tuesday through Saturday
  • The Cultural Council galleries are open, the Visitor Information Center and Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach store are open as well
For more information about the Cultural Council contact Judith Czelusniak, Public Relations:
  • Email: JCzelusniak@palmbeachculture.com 
  • Phone: 561-471-1602 
  • Mobile/text: 917-655-3217

How to become a Citizen On Patrol (COP) and let’s take a look back: Downtown Lake Worth, June 2008

Lake Worth’s PBSO District 14 has the Citizen On Patrol (COP) program; see below for more information on how to become a volunteer. COPs do not become involved in a situation or even try to stop a crime in progress—they are more “eyes and ears” on the street and report to law enforcement what they see and hear.

After a crime getting in front of the TV cameras or getting mentioned in the newspaper to complain isn’t helping in any meaningful way. But it does help sell newspapers and keeps viewers watching TV after 11:00.

The focus needs to be more on prevention and getting tips to PBSO. The fast news cycle and reporters will be on to other things in short order and you’ll be forgotten soon enough. Remember Thomas Altman? His murder was a sensational week-long story in the press until the next headline-grabbing story came along.

Despite all the press interviews with people after that murder and all the attention that crime received it still remains unsolved. But it’s possible someone knew something prior to Altman’s murder and could have tipped off PBSO. But we’ll never know now.

Time for a look back: Below is a blog post I wrote about a night back in 2008 when I was a COP. This was prior to PBSO taking over for the Lake Worth Police Dept. Back then, unless you had no other options, Downtown Lake Worth was not a place you wanted to be after dark:

While on COP duty last night, I stopped to take this quick video of the drill held at the Gulfstream Hotel for local fire departments. They need two organized night time drills like this to retain their certifications. This is what it looked like. No smoke but maybe that came later.
video
By the way, the streets were swarming with real police cars last night. Many active scenes and busy radio traffic.

Use this link to a news story on the City’s website about the COP program. Would strongly suggest this as a way to help your neighborhood if you have persistent issues with crime. And also remember this:
To become a Citizen On Patrol call 561-433-2003. For more information about Lake Worth’s District 14 PBSO look for this image in the right-hand column of this blog.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Update on the City’s pool. . . and why the City needs to seriously consider a Public Information Officer (PIO)*

An experienced PIO could have gotten this information out to the public in about ten (10) minutes last Thursday (December 22nd), here’s the latest about the pool I received this morning, Tuesday, Dec. 27th:

According to Juan Ruiz, the Leisure Services Director, a pool contractor is coming out at 8 a.m. tomorrow to repair the issue. The 12″ main return had burst. Ruiz said this is the kind of thing that shows the age of the pool. The pipe burst last Thursday and with the holidays the City had trouble getting the word out. He said there was a press release and that he would forward it to me.

Most PIO’s would probably discourage using this method to inform the public:

The official news from the City taped to the front door of the pool complex. If you’ve been having misgivings about the City’s ability to “control the message”, well, this is not a very hopeful ‘sign’.

I received a phone call last Saturday afternoon about the pool being closed and decided to drive over and check it out. Yes, the pool was closed until “further notice” without any explanation as to why. Was this news sent out on Twitter with a “#LakeWorth” hashtag. No. Any news about this on the City’s website? No.

If you recall, it was after terrible news reports and misreporting in social media, the City of Lake Worth hired a media specialist but that particular person and the City decided to part ways. Would it be time to reconsider another person to fill that role? A topic of discussion at the next Commission meeting on January 10th?

*Interestingly, on the topic, this press release is from the City of West Palm Beach yesterday (Monday, 12/26).

What Scott Maxwell said about the Casino, “our regional beach”, and problems still left unsolved.

All the vexing problems at the Casino and Beach complex haven’t gone away. This time of year is a quiet one for local governments and it won’t stay quiet for long. The next Lake Worth City Commission meeting is January 10th.

The “awesome” 2nd floor Casino restaurant space is still vacant after all these years, no course as yet decided to fix the leaking doors, the pool which was never addressed by a previous administration continues to have problems, and on and on it goes.

This all came to a head last May.

There is simply too much to point out what is discussed in the three videos below (1st video is 2:36 minutes, 2nd is 9:22, 3rd is 2:46). What Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell said in these videos caused much wringing-of-hands, hysterics, and quite a bit of furious historical revisionism from those who would prefer the Casino and “BEACH!” history started two years ago. The history of that structure and terrible mistakes went back much further than that.

Do you recall the now-ended Invitation To Negotiate (ITN) process? The majority on the City Commission, Mayor Pam Triolo, Commissioner Andy Amoroso, and Maxwell were greatly criticized for going this route to solve the problems with the Casino. But, interestingly, the ITN also opened the proverbial “can of worms” and many started asking the question: How did we get here and who is responsible?

Note the “1/3” icon in the top left corner. Click on that to switch and watch another of the videos:
Maxwell should know very well what went on back then. He was there at the time watching it all happen and warning of the train wreck to come. When Maxwell was speaking you could see how uncomfortable Commissioner McVoy was, with good reason:

Why the deer-in-the-headlights look? McVoy (on right) was one of those ‘visionaries’ who made all those terrible decisions.

Who else was involved in this fiasco? Here they are:

Recognize anyone?

Radical environmentalists you’ve supported in the past now just a big disappointment? Then consider supporting DGR.


UPDATE: Derrick Jensen from Deep Green Resistance (DGR) has an article in the Fair Observer dated December 12th titled, “The Myth of Renewable Energy.” About the author:

Derrick Jensen is the author of more than 20 books, including “Endgame, A Language Older Than Words” and “The Culture of Make Believe.”

Are you a supporter of radical environmentalism and looking for bold ideas? Are you tired of protesters banging pots and pans, obnoxious noise-makers from the dollar store? Retelling old stories of tree-sits and late-night forays? Public relations fiascos like a radical environmentalist (rad enviro) throwing a battery into a lake? Confusing ‘musicals’ sending mixed messages too?

Click image to enlarge. Pretty clever, huh? The 1960’s is calling and they want their Lake Worth hippie back.

The self-described rad enviros in Palm Beach County are a big disappointment, especially when it comes curbing or at least slowing down western sprawl. For instance, look in the right-hand column for Did you know 2 of 19 Best Environmentalists in South Florida” are in Lake Worth? You would be hard-pressed finding any proof of their success if you read the newspaper every day. Especially the “Real Estate” section.

If you’re looking for new ideas “outside the box” then consider donating much needed funds to DGR. Consider this:

     Throughout history all resistance movements have faced ruthless enemies that had unlimited resources. And, unlike the past, now everything’s at stake.
     We are battling those who are destroying the planet for their profit, not ours. Not all of us can participate on the frontlines. Many people have important reasons to stay back – families, children, or character traits. [emphasis added]

[and. . .]

     We are a young organization, but we have a message that is more unique and strategic than anything else we have seen. The DGR strategy – Decisive Ecological Warfare – lays out a simple (though not easy) plan to get from here – a society based on wholesale exploitation and destruction of human communities and the natural world – to there – thousands of local communities based on respect, human rights, and balance.
     As an aboveground organization, our work is strictly nonviolent. Our tasks are simple: to promote the need for an underground, to shift the culture of activism, to normalize resistance, and to build movement towards true justice, sustainability, and equality.
     Join those of us who cannot be on the front lines in supporting the struggle for life and justice. With your help, we will make this dream a reality.

To help, send a check or use one many other options:
Deep Green Resistance
PO Box 925

Monday, December 26, 2016

Beach Scene in Lake Worth, 1921, Courtesy of FAU Library

An excerpt from a Letter to the Editor in the Post today. . .

. . . that sums things up quite nicely:

     I support freedom of religion and of speech, and if this were another time of year, with some exceptions, like Easter and Yom Kippur, I wouldn’t care at all about the pentagram. But to place it now is simply unkind.
     The man might think he’s making a statement about others’ tolerance, but he might think a little more about his own. Thumbing your nose at Christians is not a social statement. It’s a personal one, and it’s just ugly. [emphasis added]

MOLLY BERNARD, GREENACRES

The Insulting Atheist has until next December to stage his next opportunistic show. Only question is where will it be and which crew of clowns will help him next time?

A reminder for all Realtors, potential homebuyers, and investors: Please ignore the occasional hysterics from the City dais

The vast majority of real estate professionals will laugh off Commissioner Chris McVoy’s nonsense about Realtors getting sued over sea level rise (more on that below) but there will always be a few that will buy in and fall for it. 

At a City Commission meeting last January commissioners McVoy and Ryan Maier gave their presentation on sea level rise (SLR) following their attendance at a conference in Key West. Maier totally flubbed his part and forgot his lines. Then McVoy chimed in with his pitch about Realtors putting themselves at risk for not disclosing that a home being sold or bought may be covered by water. The more likely outcome (if you think it through) is that both the Realtor and the homeowner will have passed away by then but those points get lost in riveting narrative.

A flurry of emails then bounced around on esoteric discussions about SLR and coastal real estate and here is one. The interesting thing about these articles is the information that should be at the beginning is added at the end where most readers will never take the time to read. Here is an excerpt:

     Instead of thinking about extreme events like hurricanes, some researchers are instead focused on the already occurring increases in roadway floods during heavy rains, extreme high tides, and other similar short-term events.

[near the end of the article. . .]

“There are a lot of places where you could buy a house now that maybe has never flooded, but by the end of the mortgage cycle, it could be flooding every other year,” he said. [emphasis added]

If you’re a Realtor don’t be in a hurry to find a lecture on SLR any time soon to protect yourself from a lawsuit. If anything, if you do feel the need to give a lecture, come up with one on how important it is keep elected officials focused on the present problems that have to be dealt with: potholes, street lighting, sidewalks, and fire hydrants come to mind.

And curiously, on the issue of real estate and preparing for the future. . .

That’s right. Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, supported constructing our new Casino east of the Coastal Construction Line. And it was Greenwashed too. Remember the water cistern to collect rainwater? Eliminated.