Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Attention Lake Worth: Don’t forget what happened last year and why our Annual Raft Race got cancelled.

UPDATE: We learned from Jon Faust, the president of the Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (NAPC), at the City Commission meeting last night this year’s July 4th Raft Race theme will be “Under the Big Top”:

Noun: A large tent at a circus under which the main attractions are featured. Used figuratively to refer to the location where a primary or major event, show, or attraction is held, often in the phrase “under the big top.”
Adjective: Featured as the primary or major event, attraction, show, etc.

The theme for last year’s Raft Race was, “Toys! Out of the box”.

Click on image below to see all the generous sponsors.
But the Raft Race was cancelled last year. Find out why below. Don’t ever let nonsense like this ever happen again in our little City.

If you’ve already read this blog post, Thank You for visiting today, and please scroll down.

And looking back wonder how much different things would have been if we had a City spokesperson like Ben Kerr, for example, sending out press releases to the community.

Last year leading up to July 4th was all a media frenzy about “news” that wasn’t news at all. It was all made up. But the City, the NAPC, and others were forced to react because not reacting and doing something would have been seen as irresponsible at the time. The City was on its heels and under tremendous pressure.

The news vans descended on us last year taking pictures, press news stories, and Live video from helicopters of algae that naturally occurs all the time when the sun comes up and the rays cause living matter, mixed with storm runoff, to change and turn green. The press all said it was “toxic” blue-green algae from Lake Okeechobee. It wasn’t.

A neighborhood ‘spokesperson’ — that wasn’t a spokesperson at all, that was made up too — released an unauthorized press release. And that was picked up by the local reporters, the County press and media. Then the frenzy was on.

A City commissioner at the time with a PhD, ostensibly an expert about such things as this, could have called a press conference and set all this right and get the facts to the public, the media and the press as well. But instead he did nothing and just sat back and watched it all happen.

Reporters like Mike Magnoli from CBS12/WPEC showed up and started asking questions like, “Is the algae toxic in Lake Worth?” Of course the answer was “No” as we later found out from the SFWMD. And reporters should be reporting the news, not raising open-ended questions. Remember back, did the suggestion and/or questions get you to change your July 4th holiday plans last year?

The Great American Raft Race then got cancelled and it didn’t have to be. But the City, the NAPC et al., had no choice. If they didn’t cancel the event they would have been hammered by the press and editors at The Palm Beach Post, naming names and maybe even demanding resignations.

Here is one example of the press coverage, the end of Magnoli’s news segment:

“For the past few weeks and until July 15th amateur photographers are flocking here --for the Lake Worth Lagoon photo contest. The winners will be featured in a 2017 calendar. Those trying to get winning snapshots shouldn’t get too close to the algae. It can cause health problems that range from itchy eyes to nausea.

Click on image to enlarge:
Picture taken soon after Magnoli’s news segment of the C-51 Canal at Spillway Park in the City of Lake Worth. See any blue-green algae?

Interestingly, the day after the Great American Raft Race was cancelled there were kayakers and people in canoes in our Intracoastal off Bryant Park. But the news vans and press were all gone by then, racing north to the Indian River Lagoon. None of them talked about septic tanks leaking, it was all about the water releases from Lake Okeechobee.

Last year at the height of the blue-green algae kerfuffle, if you did happen to experience “itchy eyes to nausea” it might be you’ve been paying too much attention to people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Take some time today and go to Spillway Park, the Lake Worth Lagoon, or the Snook Islands and try getting one of those winning photos for the 2018 Lake Worth Lagoon Photo Contest!

In other news from last year, Oystercatchers and other wildlife returned to Snook Islands. Do you see any blue-green algae blobs of slime in this photo?