Saturday, January 7, 2017

Did you know Commissioner Ryan Maier dropped out of the race? Election day in Lake Worth is March 14th.

Yes, it’s true. Maier is not seeking re-election on March 14th. A story that’s gone unreported in the press since last December.

So. . . Maier dropping out of the District 4 race ISN’T BIG NEWS but a small chocolate store closing in our Downtown IS BIG NEWS? Go figure. To see Maier’s letter and the backup information for yourself look at the agenda for next Tuesday’s City Commission meeting: look over at the top of right-hand column for link and go to pages 21–24.

Check back to this blog next Tuesday for how to watch the Commission meeting Live Streaming.

Remember, elections for commissioners are City-wide elections. You’ll be seeing these signs around the City soon: Herman Robinson will be one of those on the ballot in District 4 on March 14th:

Be very cautious of press reports and loaded language. Herman is not a “developer” and he’s not “Willy Wonka” either. Herman is the recent Chair of the City’s Historic Resource Preservation Board, just one of his many sacrifices for this City.

An artists drawing of Herman. Doesn’t he strike a strong resemblance to Captain Obvious”?

Commissioner Ryan Maier campaigned for and supported the Anarchist, Ryan Hartman, to help him form a new majority on City Commission.

Here’s an interesting quote from Ryan Hartman last March: “By the end of the campaign, they [the press] refused to even call me for interviews (in fact, Kevin Thompson lied in two of his articles about trying to contact me).” [emphasis added] Kevin Thompson is a beat reporter at The Palm Beach Post.

District 4 Commissioner Ryan Maier’s salon windows leading up to Lake Worth elections in March of 2016. 

Signs do not vote. People do. Last March Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell (who Hartman tried to unseat), and Commissioner Andy Amoroso were all re-elected in landslide victories:

The slate that included Ryan Hartman, Frank McAlonan, and Dianne Jacques all lost. Gary Antieau (another candidate on the slate), was used to force Mayor Triolo into a run-off. It didn’t work.

With the exception of the last picture in this series these pictures were taken along a stretch of North Palmway.

Note the use of 5-pointed stars.
A few of the red & white SRS signs continue to litter the City.

One more time. . .

Friday, January 6, 2017

The non-story that just won’t go away: Hoffman’s Chocolate and “not enough business”?

But first, remember what’s coming up next Monday:

The Food Truck Invasion is always on the second Monday of the month. Have you been yet?

In retrospect, isn’t the non-news story by Kevin Thompson at The Palm Beach Post about Hoffman’s Chocolate closing their location (“not enough business”?) in Downtown Lake Worth look silly now, especially considering all the news about business closings in West Palm Beach?

Ironically, a few days after that non-story about Hoffman’s the reporter writes a gushing, glowing article about a new restaurant opening up in our Downtown. I also visited Lilo’s of Lake Worth and this is my account of my wonderful meal there.

While at Lilo’s and watching all the going’s-in our Downtown recalled an earlier article in the Post and jotted down a “note to self”. Remember back last September when our City was referred to as a “jumping off place” and just “music and booze”, another quote from that ‘news’. Following that strongly urged my blog readers to write a Letter to the Editor to set this nonsense straight: use this link to learn how. It’s very easy and you should give it a try.

And on the topic of business and our Downtown, there’s this looming question that’s never been answered: Why won’t commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy, PhD, “take the walk” with our Downtown merchants? Michelle Sylvester asked this question at a City Commission meeting.

There’s a constant drumbeat from the media and press for the public to hold politicians and governments accountable: the reason why many people chose a career in journalism in the first place. The public should hold the press’ “feet to the fire” as well. Over and over again am reminded of a news segment by NBC5/WPTV’s Alex Hagan leading up to Lake Worth’s bond vote last November.

Hagan’s news report may or may not have influenced that vote but what it did do was explain the choice to the voters in a fair and even-handed way. With the next election coming up in the City on March 14th, hope springs eternal that the press will not think it’s their role to be that of picking winners and losers.

But if the past is any clue. . .

How exciting! News article in the Sun Sentinel: “In 2013, volunteers from the city of Lake Worth. . .


. . . formed a nonprofit organization called Cottages of Lake Worth to promote its vintage cottages in the hopes of encouraging tourism and improving the properties.” Use this link to read the entire article.

On January 16th, Yours Truly was invited to the Boynton Beach Woman’s Club to talk about “The Cottages” book; details below.

About the reporter: “Boynton Forum reporter Jan Engoren began her writing career after being asked one too many times to compose her boss’ emails. Before that, Jan worked as a corporate trainer, a regulatory affairs specialist and in health care serving the Asian community in Boston. She grew up in New York in an artistic household.”

Another excerpt from the article:

     Wes Blackman will speak on “The Cottages of Lake Worth: Living Large in Small Spaces” during the Boynton Beach Historical Society’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Boynton Beach Woman’s Club, 1010 S. Federal Highway.
     Inside The Cottages of Lake Worth Tour is from 1 to 6 p.m. Jan. 29 and will include 10 cottages, exhibits by local artists along with appetizers, refreshments and a trolley.
     Tickets are $30 in advance and, if available, $35 at the door. They can be purchased at Paws on the Avenue and Studio 205 at Lake Avenue and L Street or at cottagesoflakeworth.com.

The view across the street from Lilo’s, our new restaurant in Downtown Lake Worth:

On Wednesday afternoon I went to Lilos of Lake Worth (702 Lake Ave.) and ate outside. Isn’t it amazing how incredible and interesting our Downtown has become?

Just can’t get away from a “pool view” in Lake Worth. Above is a creative mural whilst sitting outside the newly opened (as of five days ago) eatery in Downtown Lake Worth. Received a call from a gentleman earlier to meet and discuss some timely topics. We decided Lilo’s would be an interesting early evening nosh and try out the newest menu in town (click on images to enlarge).


Our kind and attentive server explained the menu. She focused on the right side of the menu where you can choose from tacos or montaditos. A montadito, she explained, are small sandwiches.

By the sound of this you might think this is a restaurant that features only Mexican or South American cuisine. That isn’t the case. These sandwiches have menu ingredients like pulled pork, tuna, and other American-style options. These were the choices I made:

From the montatido portion of the menu is this BBQ pork sandwich.

Our server explained, if you are a little hungry, one or two small plates may suffice. More hungry? Then two or three. 

The spicy tuna from the tacos portion of the menu.

The pork sandwich came on a hamburger bun with a generous portion of pork and a thick, sweet barbecue sauce. The spicy tuna wasn’t that spicy, to my taste (I can drink Sriracha out of the bottle), but had plenty of sushi-grade raw tuna. For $5 it’s hard to beat.

Small plate offerings range in price from $2 to $5. The tuna is a bargain. The most expensive item on the menu (upper left hand corner) is the Lobster Lollipop under “Bites”. Sounds intriguing for another visit.

Photo taken around 4:00, the interior prior to the evening rush. If you recall the former Rotelli’s, the interior is much different now.

I spoke briefly with the owner and she’s happy with her dealings with the City. Later this year, or early next year, she plans more exciting changes to the structure and has had discussions about that. Stay tuned.

The interior has been freshened up compared to the previous venue, Rotelli’s. The most notable change is the bar being moved more to the center of the room and set up in a U-pattern. Booths disappeared from the north wall but are kept on the east wall.

Currently, the Happy Hour special is $1 oysters. Will be back again for certain. This is a nice addition to our downtown restaurant scene. Wes says, “Two thumbs up!” You should certainly go and eat at Lilo’s of Lake Worth some time soon.

Warning. The content below will be very disturbing for some readers. You’ve been warned.

This is not a joke. You have several choices: 1) Read it. 2) Scroll down to the next blog post. 3) Watch the Jeopardy theme song and think about it for a moment.

What is the content about? It’s about feminism, groups that “push for change” but are overwhelmingly composed of White people, and it’s about Black people too. I happened across news content from Deep Green Resistance (DGR), a group I’ve made mention of on this blog many times over the years concerning the radical environmentalist community. You may recall Lierre Keith of DGR, a feminist and radical environmentalist herself, who is not a welcome voice at all in the environmentalist “space”.

So without further ado:The article is titled: Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Racism in the Feminist Movement. The article starts out with this:

This is the first in a series of blog posts on race and racism in the feminist movement. It is not a feel-good piece. Equally, it is not a reprimand. It is a wake-up call – one which I hope will be answered.

Use this link to read the entire article.

Please spare me the slings and arrows. This is called Free Speech. If you’re angry or upset please contact the author, Claire Heuchan.

Hoffman’s Chocolate closing location in Lake Worth: Is “not enough business” the real reason?

Or is the real reason most discerning chocolate lovers prefer Kilwins?

Ever since the Post’s Kevin Thompson reported on the non-news about Hoffman’s on December 29th (page B1, below the fold with this headline: “Lack of business forces Hoffman’s in downtown Lake Worth to close”), it’s been nothing but gushing, exuberant good news ever since about Lake Worth.

If his intention was to damage our City’s business community, well, it backfired in a big way and he’s been backpedaling ever since. Here’s an excerpt from the article last December:

“At this location, we were just known for ice cream,” Hutchinson [Anna Hutchinson, store manager] said. “But a lot of people didn’t even know we existed. We had a lot of people coming from Palm Beach [emphasis added], walking by and asking, ‘Did you just open?’ ”

Anyhow. . . below is another article about our Downtown written by Thompson 2½ months ago. Enjoy:

“Do you have a minute? Two perhaps?” For the entire article by Thompson on October 14th use this link. Excerpts follow with emphasis added by Yours Truly:

LAKE WORTH—Do you have a minute?
     Two, perhaps?
     I won’t take up much of your time.
     Promise.
     Check out these facts.
  • 1 S. Dixie Highway, the old SunTrust Bank site, sold for $1.3 million
  • 701 Lake Ave., where Rotelli Pizza one stood, sold for $1.1 million, leased shortly thereafter.
  • Bridges at Lake Worth moves into larger, 4,000-square-foot space at 802-810 South Dixie Highway
  • Edward Jones Investments signs 10-year lease at 120 N. Federal Highway site.
  • 815 Lake Ave. building sold for $1.2 million, investors eyeing building apartments and adding retail stores.
     Those numbers mean one thing to Chris Fleming, a senior broker with Strategic Realty Services, whose company handled four of the five deals listed above.
     “The commercial real estate market in east-central Palm Beach County is on fire,” Fleming said.
     That territory, of course, includes Lake Worth.

[and. . .]

     That the city has placed a $40 million road repair bond on the November ballot [which passed overwhelmingly] is important to potential investors. “They will put money in real estate when cities invest in their infrastructure,” Fleming said. “That brings them in.”

[and. . .]

     Fleming pointed out how it’s a challenge to find retailers for downtown since Web sales are taking a big chunk out of the traditional stores’ profit margins. “That’s having a profound effect on the mom-and-pop shops,” Fleming said.

[and. . .]

     “The city is heading in the right direction,” Fleming said. “But it’s going to take some time and as long as the city stays the course.”
     Time’s up. Told you it wouldn’t take long.

Times’s up.

Now, in context, doesn’t the closing of one, small, tiny Hoffman’s Chocolates location in downtown Lake Worth take on an entirely different perspective?

And, really now, everybody who loves great chocolate goes to Kilwins Chocolates anyway.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Lake Worth Sister City Board meeting is next Monday

See the agenda below. And don’t forget, the next day (January 10th) is the City Commission meeting (no agenda as yet) which may be very dramatic—or maybe it will not be. Everyone will have to wait and see. Predictions seem to split 50/50.

If you recall, Commissioner Ryan Maier, also the Commission liaison to the Sister City Board, has unofficially/officially decided not to run for re-election in District 4. At the Commission meeting next Tuesday we just might learn why; the public has been kept in the dark since December 27th:

Then-citizen Ryan Maier, an image from his campaign literature. Maier is the current Commission liaison to the Sister City Board.

Whilst other cities like Boynton Beach see the importance of Sister Cities, our own Lake Worth Sister City Board and the board liaison, can’t make quorum and reach out to our Finnish friends in Lappeenranta. Here’s recent news by the Post’s Alexandra Seltzer with the headline: “Boynton Beach residents, meet your new sister from Finland”, two excerpts:

Boynton Beach residents: You have a new sister, and her name is Rauma.
     City officials this week agreed to becoming Sister Cities with Rauma, Finland.
     The two cities can connect on issues they both experience, part of a bigger national picture that goes back to the 1950s. [emphasis added] President Dwight D. Eisenhower founded the Sister Cities International, a nonprofit, in 1956, and now cities all over the country have been partnered with communities across the world.

[and. . .]

     There are about 26,000 Finnish residents of Florida, and between 10,000 and 12,000 in Palm Beach County, Makila [Honorary Consulate of Finland Peter Makila] said. Traditionally, the Finnish residents have lived in Lantana and Lake Worth, but Makila said there has been a recent shift south of there.

The agenda for next Monday:

Sister City Board meeting
Monday, January 9th at 5:30 pm
City Hall Conference Room
1. Roll Call [cross your fingers!]
2. Goals and Objectives
3. Future Events
4. Discussion of New Sister Cities
5. Adjournment

One year ago today: “I have to tell you, in 23 years I’ve never, ever seen so many people come out. . .”

Now, a year later, the community in Lake Worth that rallied to save our historic Gulfstream Hotel are left wondering and looking for answers. Again. A year ago though, on January 5th, 2016, the future looked so bright.

The Coastal Observer ran a popular series of articles focusing on Lake Worth history, one that’s hard to imagine without our iconic Downtown hotel.

Today is the one year anniversary of the Lake Worth City Commission meeting when one of South Florida’s most well-respected land use attorneys, representing the owners of the Gulfstream Hotel that day, said this:

“I have to tell you, in 23 years I’ve never, ever seen so many people come out, leave their homes at dinner time to speak in favor of an application. It just doesn’t happen. People come to speak against, but people don’t come to speak in favor. So I am overwhelmed by the volume of people that have been here this evening.”

Earlier that evening, the video below is Lake Worth resident and businesswoman Ariana Peters giving testimony why she believed the Gulfstream Hotel redevelopment would be so positive for our City. At the 1:00 mark she says:

“I believe the Gulfstream project is not only the right step but also a very crucial step in the right direction. I thank the board for their consideration of this project and I’m looking forward to the re-opening of this great landmark bringing people to Lake Worth who have always been hesitant and to finally showing off our town’s incredible Downtown and one of the best assets Lake Worth has to offer. Thank you.[standing applause follows]True: The Gulfstream Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

That designation protects the structure from demolition? Completely False.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

From the Oxford American, “Later that day I met with Wes Blackman. . .”

All these months later I’m still getting surprised, incredulous calls and emails from people who just somehow stumbled across this article by Rachel Monroe in the Oxford American, titled “Monkeywrench”, published last August.

After the article was published used several excerpts from this very lengthy, extremely well-written, and highly entertaining work—highly recommend you read in it’s entirety when you have the time. Following the images from Everglades EarthFirst! (see below, “Yes! It is Happening”) is the first excerpt. For excerpt #2 use this link. From Monroe’s article:

“Most people in the room were not Floridians; instead, they lived in fringe towns—Ithaca, Bloomington, Oakland—where the rent was cheap enough that radical politics could flourish. [emphasis added]

For excerpt #3 use this link:

“. . . I [writer Rachel Monroe] walked in late to find a dozen tattooed people pretending to be a machine. Tentatively at first and then with increasing enthusiasm, they pantomimed the pulling of levers and the pushing of buttons and other nonsensical but orderly tasks.

Without further ado, hope you enjoy the very first excerpt from last October, “Later that day I met with Wes Blackman. . .”:

Remember the Anarchist (“I’m Chuck Bass”) that ran for a seat on the City Commission? The ‘musical’ that had so many people worried? The article by Rachel Monroe is a look back to those heady days leading up to the March 2016 elections in Lake Worth.*

     “Later that day I met with Wes Blackman, the blogger who’d been leading the anti-Hartman, anti-musical faction. The anarchists’ nemesis turned out to be a tall, broad-bodied man who spoke so reasonably and blandly—about the history of zoning ordinances in the town, and height restrictions, and other wonky city-planning topics—that I nearly forgot the rancor he embodied online. ‘I’m a liberal Democrat, but the political spectrum in Lake Worth is skewed so terribly that most people here would see me as a right-wing Republican type, [emphasis added] he told me. ‘They think that money is an evil, that people having the ability to make money somehow is a bad thing, that there’s greed involved. That if someone’s making profits, that’s not the way it should be, and we should live at a subsistence level so other people can live better? I’ve really tried to figure it out, and I end up scratching my head.

*The Anarchist Ryan Hartman lost in a landslide to Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. To read Hartman’s fact-challenged concession message following that election use this link. Here’s an excerpt: “By the end of the campaign, they [the press] refused to even call me for interviews (in fact, Kevin Thompson lied in two of his articles about trying to contact me).” Kevin Thompson is a beat reporter at The Palm Beach Post.

From Skyler Swisher: “Palm Beach County wants to sink Cold War-era sub to create artificial reef ”

About the reporter: Skyler Swisher is a Sun Sentinel reporter covering Palm Beach County government. Before joining the Sun Sentinel, he wrote about health care for The Daytona Beach News-Journal. A native of Memphis, he is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Here is the reporter’s latest news, an excerpt:

A Cold War-era submarine on display at a maritime museum in South Carolina could be sent to the bottom of the sea about a mile off the coast of Palm Beach County.
     The USS Clamagore, a designated historic landmark built during the last months of World War II, is one of three vessels featured at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum on Charleston Harbor.
     But museum officials say it’s not cost effective to keep the aging sub as an attraction. Restoring the boat is estimated to cost $6 million, and annual upkeep runs about $250,000, said Chris Hauff, a museum spokesman.
     “The cost of maintaining these 70-year-old warships floating in salt water in Charleston Harbor can be very high,” he said. “We have exhausted all other options as far as finding a new home for it.”

Just wondering. Hoffmans Chocolate closes a small location in Downtown Lake Worth. . .

. . . and that’s BIG NEWS in The Palm Beach Post? But Bar Louie closes their location in Downtown West Palm Beach and there’s nothing in today’s print edition about that? Which reminds me, from last week:

“Positively” positive observations about Downtown Lake Worth. And FYI: There’s a new market open at 318 North Dixie Hwy. called De Vine Marketplace and it’s getting rave reviews. Why not stop by and check it out today?

The Night Market Waterside in Lake Worth is tonight from 6:00–9:00

This Farmers Market is located at the east side of the Lake Worth Bridge, close by the City’s Casino and BEACH! complex that are on the other side of A1A. Locals refer to this waterside park as “Hot Dog Park” by the way.

Come see “The Cottages of Lake Worth” hardcover book as well and talk with Taylor (the photographer) and Janice (the book coordinator) to learn more about this exciting project:

Can’t make it tonight? You can also see “The Cottages” book at the City’s newsstand located at 600 Lake Ave. (a nice man named Andy will assist you) and at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County across the street.

From The Rickie Report: “Lake Worth, In The Heart Of The Arts Offers Affordable Housing A Mile From The Beach For Artists”

Coming in Fall, 2017 to the northeast corner of Lucerne Ave. and North ‘F’ Street across from the Armory Arts Annex.

Do you know an artist looking for affordable housing in an up-and-coming destination city? If you do then share the information below:

“Have you always wanted to live a mile from the beach but never thought you could afford it? The Rickie Report shares information about the next phase of live-work homes for artists in Lake Worth’s West Village. We hope you will share this article with artists around the country, as Palm Beach County’s recognition as a creative hub continues to grow!”

Save the Date, January 16th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the little City of Lake Worth

Things to know, information from the City’s website:
  • Municipal offices will be closed in observance.
  • Call Retha Lowe at 561-586-7276 to volunteer and for further information.
  • 7:30–9:00 a.m.: Unity Interfaith Breakfast at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church (928 South ‘E’ Street).
  • 4:30 p.m.: Civil Rights Song Fest on steps of City Hall.
  • 5:00: Candlelight March from City Hall to the Cultural Plaza.
  • 5:30: Commemorative program and re-dedication of MLK Memorial Fountain.
  • 6:00–8:00: Dinner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (corner of Lucerne Ave. & North Palmway).
Below is a look back to Julius Whigham II’s news report on Lake Worth’s largest-ever Martin Luther King Jr. March held last January 18th in our Downtown (Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the third Monday each January):

The Martin Luther King Jr. March ending at our Downtown Cultural Plaza. Former Commissioner Retha Lowe said last January’s “turnout was among the largest she’s seen.”

From the Palm Beach Post’s Julius Whigham II we have this news story. So many people marched yesterday from City Hall to the Cultural Plaza and it was a sight to behold. The tone of the gathering was one of camaraderie, hope and respect. A very special Thank You to the Post and The Lake Worth Herald for being there to document the march. From the Post article:

Former Lake Worth commissioner Retha Lowe, who started the city’s King celebration, said Monday’s turnout was among the largest she’s seen.
     “I think this is the biggest crowd,” she said. “We’ve got more young people from Lake Worth High School. … I just feel like this annual day that we set aside to celebrate unity, fellowship and love, it has grown and it’s just getting better.”
     Lowe began her day preparing food for a unity interfaith breakfast. As a crowd gathered to listen to speeches following the walk, she reflected on how much the city has changed since she moved there 40 years ago.
     “I just feel that Dr. King was for everybody,” Lowe said. “He was for unity. Over these 21 years, we have come together as a family. Over the years, it has grown and people now are coming together from all over. That’s exciting for me.”

Marching down Lake Ave.

Ceremony in the Cultural Plaza.

View west of the marchers on Lake Ave.

Paradise Park: A tourist attraction “for colored people” in Florida (1949–1969)

This historical item is from the Florida Memory/Archives of Florida collection about one of this state’s regrettable eras. Here is an image from the archives about Paradise Park:

Click here to view the entire document.

An excerpt from Florida Memory:

Paradise Park was a segregated African-American resort located about a mile down the Silver River from the popular Silver Springs attraction near Ocala, Florida. The park was developed by Carl Ray and W.M. “Shorty” Davidson, co-owners of Silver Springs for nearly four decades. The park opened May 20, 1949 and remained open until 1969. African-American families, tour buses, and church groups came from all over Florida and the United States to visit the attraction. Amenities included a pavilion with a dance floor and jukebox, a swimming area with a sandy beach, tropical landscaping and space for softball and other games. Like its counterpart Silver Springs, Paradise Park featured glass-bottom boat tours that introduced visitors to the beauty of the Silver River. Easter egg hunts, baptisms and picnics were common, and at Christmas Santa Claus would cruise down the river on a glass-bottom boat to pass out candy, nuts and fruit for the children.

Lake Worth one of the best cities in the country to start a small business. Ranked 135 of 1268 on data aggregation site*

Did Greenfield, CA, make the list? And why, you might be asking yourself, would that city be of interest? Find that out below.

The City of Lake Worth has been rebounding quite well the last few years following the Great Recession. But is the City really 135 out of 1268 or doing better? Maybe not as good as 135? It’s hard to know for sure since most of this data is certainly aggregated using zip codes. Some newspapers like the Post, for example, fall for news like crime data about ‘Lake Worth’ from a real estate sites such as NeighborhoodScout.

If you didn’t know, Lake Worth’s zip codes are 33460 and a part of 33461. However, there are 9  ‘Lake Worth’ zip codes. How could that be? Use this link for a good explanation.

Anyhow, this recent news on the ranking of small cities vis-à-vis small business growth can be found at the South Florida Business Journal. Here is an excerpt:

     “Deerfield Beach and Riviera Beach rank among the best cities for entrepreneurs to start small businesses, according to a WalletHub survey released Monday.
     The personal finance website ranked 1,268 cities based on their business environment, access to resources and businesses costs, and both cities made it in the top 20, with Deerfield Beach at No. 10 and Riviera Beach at No. 18.

So how did other Florida cities do on the list? There are a lot of Florida cities listed. Here are a few you might recognize:
  • Deerfield Beach #10
  • Riviera Beach #18
  • Dania Beach #35
  • Boca Raton #56
  • Boynton Beach #69
  • Greenacres #109
  • Lake Worth #135
  • Jupiter #138
  • Delray Beach #151
  • Palm Beach Gardens #169
  • Royal Palm Beach #297
  • Wellington #318
The city of Greenfield, CA, is not on the list. If you didn’t know, Lake Worth’s former city manager went on to become the city manager in Greenfield after being fired by the City of Lake Worth. Just thought you might be interested.

*A representative at WalletHub requested I provide a link directly to their news article that is referenced below. Here is the link.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Another sad news void in Lake Worth: The dearth* of top-notch food and restaurant reviews is going to get worse

UPDATE: It’s true. We’re losing our favorite and best food/restaurant reviewer here in Lake Worth. Who will step up and pick up the slack with quality reporting? The Post’s Jeff Ostrowski maybe, remember “C′est si bon”? Give Alexa Silverman a chance? The original blog post from this morning is below. Here is the confirmation:
Below is just terrible news from Chuck Strouse†, the editor-in-chief of Miami New Times (see the press release below). Quality, well-written, and researched food and restaurant reviews are already lacking in Lake Worth, and in Palm Beach County generally, and now it appears things are about to get worse. 

Nicole Danna at the New Times is one of the best food and restaurant reviewers around and covering Lake Worth food news and restaurants. If you recall, it was Danna that broke the news about C.W.S. Bar + Kitchen coming to town. With new restaurants, eateries, and food markets (like De Vine Marketplace on Dixie Hwy.) opening all the time Nicole Danna will be sorely missed.

This is the press release:

Voice Media Group announced today it has completed the combination of its South Florida publications, Miami New Times and New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Moving forward, the company's award-winning editorial coverage and business operations will be handled through Miami New Times, [emphasis added] a consolidation consistent with VMG's nationwide emphasis on expanding its digital reach with maximum efficiency for readers and clients.
     While print distribution and digital offerings such as email and social media will remain robust in Broward County, New Times will concentrate its South Florida online presence at miaminewtimes.com.
     The Miami office will also be the regional hub for V Digital Services, the company's fast-growing digital marketing agency. VDS, a Premier Google Partner, combines the reach of VMG's iconic newspaper properties with cutting-edge digital strategies for local businesses, including organic SEO, social media management, and precision-targeted programmatic advertising.

For more information: Adam Simon
Publisher
305-571-7535

*Definition of the word “dearth”.
Chuck Strouse is editor-in-chief of Miami New Times. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other state local and national awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at multiple newspapers including the Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and Los Angeles Times.

Just to be clear. . . all the consternation about a Wawa on 10th Ave. North in the City of Lake Worth

[UPDATE: The agenda for tomorrow’s City Commission meeting is now available. And no, there is no agenda item concerning a Wawa being constructed at 10th Ave. North and ‘A’ Street.]

Was pleased to hear the blog post (see below) from last December cut through a lot of the noise and made a lot of sense to people who are very upset about this situation. It’s important to understand this issue hasn’t even made it to the Planning and Zoning Board, if it even gets there. At a minimum there would need to be four (4) public City meetings (likely more than 4), each duly published and noticed, along with backup material for the interested public.

For anyone to suggest the public is being “bamboozled” or “shut out” of the process is absolutely false. 

As always, Thank You for visiting my blog. Without further ado. . .

I already addressed this several times on this blog: Any possibility of a Wawa on the southeast lot of 10th Ave. North and ‘A’ Street. You can read more about that using this link. Below is an excerpt from The Lake Worth Herald last October:
According to sources in City Hall, there are some major hurdles Wawa would have to clear before they would be allowed to build there.
Two important points: 1) There is no law and not improper in any way for any company or developer bringing an idea or project forward. 2) Whether it goes anywhere is another story.

If the City said “No! Just go away”, that would open the way for lawsuit(s). Remember the good ‘ole days by a previous City Commission and lawsuit after lawsuit?

So what’s a concerned citizen to do? Stay involved and pay attention. Peruse the City’s website for future Planning/Zoning meetings and look at the agendas. If a project is proposed you’ll have plenty of time and opportunity to make public comment and communicate with your elected City officials and staff.

Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.

The Post interview with Matt Constantine at Adopt-A-Family of The Palm Beaches and more on “The ‘G’ Word”

This interview (see below) from December 2015 took on all new significance following Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier’s irresponsible and outrageous comments about Adopt-A-Family’s efforts in the City being some sort of grand conspiracy to steal people’s homes. If you followed Maier’s twisted logic, the new definition of ‘gentrification’ is repairing windows, fixing the A/C, installing a washer and dryer, workable toilets and a shower for elderly people and poor families. The blog post about the interview with Matt Constantine follows:

The Post’s Kevin Thompson interviewed Matt Constantine from Adopt-A-Family located in Lake Worth (1712 2nd Ave. North, 561-253-1361). I’ve known Matt for quite some time and many of you will remember him as a long-time CRA board member here in the City. The article is on-line to read in full. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Q: What are some of the services the agency provides?
A: We provide service in three tiers — families who are homeless, families at risk to becoming homeless and a program aimed for kids. We offer housing and such supportive services as social- and health-management workers. We try to wrap around the entire picture of what’s going on with that family so we can offer a solution. 

[and. . .] 

Q: How often do you work with Lake Worth families?
A: A ton. I would estimate at least 25 to 35 percent of the families we serve are from Lake Worth. We’ve become a proud member of this city and always have been welcomed with open arms.

To “Follow” Adopt-A-Family on Twitter click on the Follow icon below:
If you have community news or wish to promote an upcoming event in the City of Lake Worth, suburban Lake Worth, the Lake Worth Corridor, and Greenacres here is how you contact the Post reporter:
  • Email: kthompson@pbpost.com
  • 561-820-4573
  • Twitter: @kevindthompson1
No luck getting a response back? Then read about the “5 Tips” from the expert at the Post to increase your chances of getting noticed by a reporter at the newspaper. For example, have you tried contacting a business reporter?

My O My. What a difference new leadership and a few years can make.

Just in case you may have missed this big news from yesterday. . . and, as always, Thank You for visiting my blog.

From Andrew Marra at the Post is this news; here are the first 3 paragraphs from the article:

Palm Beach County’s traditional public schools saw their biggest influx of new students in more than a decade this school year, [emphasis added] as parents reversed a years-long trend by overwhelmingly choosing district-operated schools over charter schools.
     The number of students attending county public schools – both district-run schools and charters – passed the 190,000 mark this year. And for the first time this decade, the vast majority of the new growth went to district-run schools.
     That’s an abrupt turnaround from only a few years ago, when the county’s charter schools dominated new growth, setting off panic among school district leaders and prompting a marketing push to convince parents to reconsider traditional schools.

Now the looming question is whether or not Tom Sutterfield will run again.

Mr. Sutterfield is a proponent of charter schools and that was part of his platform. He lost in 2014 to Erica Whitfield and lost again in 2016 to Barbara McQuinn. Stay tuned as they say. The 3rd time just might be the charm but a change of position on the issue of charter schools might help get a few more votes.

Even though Tom Sutterfield got the Post endorsement, Erica Whitfield won easily in 2014. Was the issue of charter schools a factor? Whitfield is an outspoken supporter of traditional public schools.

Here is a comment that was left by bbswpb1 responding to Andrew Marra’s article:

As a former high school teacher, it was completely obvious that charters would find ways to "weed out" the students who were unlikely to perform well and send them back to the district schools, who had no such option. Anyone who believes that charter schools perform better (which, in general, is a false belief itself) because of teaching methods rather than the ability to select their students (not initially, but through expulsions) is an imbecile.
     How come, whenever we hear about the great success story charter schools (about 5% of the total) like KIPP--where they "hold students to high standards" and "demand more involvement by students and parents"--we never hear about how they deal with the students and families who refuse to meet those demands? Because they send them back to the district schools, that's why. (But they don't send the money with them--the district has to sue to get it back.)
     The claim that charter schools are better because they don't have the same restrictions as and are more flexible than the district schools is not an argument for charter schools; it is an argument for fewer restrictions and regulations on the district schools.

Well put bbswpb1. Very well put. However, the word “imbecile” was a little over-the-top. But you can be excused. You’re very passionate about this issue.

And as far as Mr. Sutterfield goes he deserves a lot of credit. It takes a lot for someone to enter the political arena and fight for what they believe in. Theodore Roosevelt had something to say about “The Man in the Arena”. So when’s the next seat on the Palm Beach County School Board up for election?

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017. A New Year. Will we learn more about cities like Greenacres in the Palm Beach Post this year?

Many cities in Palm Beach County (PBC), like the City of Greenacres for example, are usually an afterthought in the Post, mostly news about crime, vehicle crashes, the butt of jokes and not-so-clever jabs too:

In 2016 the Post ranked the cities in PBC and Greenacres was said to be a lot of nothing with “an extra dollop of Hispanic”. Mangonia Park ranked the worst city. No big surprise, West Palm Beach the best.

However, this 2016 news about Greenacres from the Post’s business reporter Jeff Ostrowski was a pleasant surprise. It’s encouraging to read serious media coverage about one of our western communities in Central Palm Beach County between the “cooler” City of Lake Worth and “glitzier” Wellington.

Each and every Monday in the Post that newspaper’s readers in Greenacres read about Lake Worth. Why can’t Greenacres be special every now and then?

Here are two excerpts from the real estate news about Greenacres by reporter Jeff Ostrowski:

     The city of Greenacres was the hottest housing market in Palm Beach County over the past year, according to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. Prices of houses and condos soared 39 percent, to a median of $149,750 in August, and homes typically were snapped up just four weeks after hitting the market.
     Greenacres’ mini-boom reflects the affordability crunch that’s squeezing the region’s property market, housing experts say.
     “For those who are just entering the market for the first time, Greenacres is a nice fit,” said Neil Picart, an agent at ERA Home Run Real Estate in suburban Lake Worth.

[and. . .]

     Countywide, a lack of entry-level homes for sale remains a challenge.
     “There’s still a bit of frustration with not enough choices at lower prices,” said Douglas Rill, owner of Century 21 America’s Choice Realty. Rill has been advising buyers to forget bargain hunting and opt instead for what he calls “aggressive pricing.[emphasis added]

A New Year’s message from the good people of Lake Worth to the good people of Greenacres: We all wish you the coverage in our County’s paper of record that you should expect and so rightly deserve!

And did you know you have an election coming up? You’ll find that news in The Lake Worth Herald.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It’s unofficially official: Commissioner Ryan Maier has decided not to run for re-election.

Image from then-citizen Ryan Maier’s campaign literature, prior to being elected on March 10th, 2015, with 1,434 votes.

Possibly Maier will issue a press release stating the reason why he’s decided not to run for re-election. Hopefully the public won’t be left to speculate until January 10th, the next City Commission meeting, on why he has decided to become a “lame duck”:
Definition #3 in Merriam-Webster: “one whose position or term of office will soon end”
The next election is on March 14th, just 72 days away. The focus needs to quickly shift to those running for election in District 4, the ones campaigning to fill the seat of Commissioner Maier, the man or woman on the ballot.

Please pay attention to the candidates and what they have to say. Soon the debate schedule will be set. Please try to show up for at least one of them. Elections are very, very important.

Palm Beach County homicide victims in 2016: A reason for hope in 2017.

The number of homicides in 2016 (87) was dramatically lower than in 2015 (109). You can see the data for yourself in the link below to The Palm Beach Post’s interactive map. However, for Black males between the ages of 20–34 the numbers remain very grim. More about that below.

On this issue the Post’s Julius Whigham II has this article published on Dec. 31st; an excerpt:

     Edmondson [Mike Edmondson, spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office] said that State Attorney’s Office investigators have worked closely with local and federal agencies to address violent crimes. But cooperation from the public remains one of the biggest challenges in solving and prosecuting murder cases, he said. [emphasis added]
     “One issue that remains a challenge is victim witness intimidation and the reluctance of the community to come forward in a murder case, he said.
     “(For) law enforcement, that’s the most frustrating aspect is knowing there is a witness to a murder and they don’t come forward for a range of reasons.”

To see the data for yourself from the interactive map of homicide victims by the Post use this link.

For some perspective here in the City of Lake Worth there have been sixty-two (62) more homicides in PBC since that of Thomas Altman last March.*

And looking back, here’s an observation from a reader of my blog early on in 2016: What if the Post, instead of focusing so much attention on Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO in 2015 and 2016 with their “Line of Fire” series (see below), had focused more attention on the issue of sober homes and the heroin epidemic instead?† All the Post’s efforts to damage Sheriff Bradshaw's re-election were in vain anyway. Bradshaw won again last year in another landslide.

Remember, starting in 2015 and rolling into 2016 was when Post was all-in with their “Line of Fire: Bullets, Badges, and Death on the Streets”‡ series. The irony wasn’t lost on many that the reporters and editors assigned to that effort didn’t pay much attention to the neighborhoods surrounding their offices in West Palm Beach at that time (West Palm had 22 homicides in 2015; in 2016 there were 10). If they did maybe their overly zealous news reporting would have taken a different path back then.

When you look at the numbers overall (2009–present) the data clearly shows who are the most likely to be the victims of homicide: For example, of the 87 homicides in 2016, 47 (54%) were Black and the vast majority of them males between the ages of 20 and 34 (the interactive map once had a filter for age groups but that tool was disabled). By far the most likely method was a firearm of some type.

Focusing on homicide is not a true barometer of crime in any area or city, just by itself. For instance, a number of homicides could unexpectedly and tragically happen in any city or area in the County and that would skew the data. And also be very careful what your see or read on social media and/or blogs too, like the false rumor below that had to quashed in the City of Lake Worth:

A false rumor in City of Lake Worth by a former candidate (Anarchist Ryan Hartman). Hartman lost in a landslide to Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell.

*If you recall, the murder of Thomas Altman generated many media reports for over a week in the Post and every TV news outlet in the region. Other families weren’t so fortunate, such as the family of Woodley Erilas who was murdered on Jan. 15th, 2015. That case also remains unsolved. 
In November of 2016 the Post did pivot to focus exclusively on the heroin epidemic.
The Post was presented with journalism awards from the Society for Professional Journalism for their reporting on PBSO and Bullets, Badges, and Death on the Streets”. Wouldn’t now be a good time to pivot again and do their next investigation on the terrible dangers that Black males face every day from guns in our communities?