Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day parade on Smith Street. Micanopy, Florida (circa 1918).


This photonegative comes from the State of Florida Archives, Florida Memory Collection. Micanopy is located south of Gainesville.


From Wikipedia on the origins of Memorial Day:


Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.

Cars parked on Ocean Blvd. in Town of Palm Beach, Florida, circa 1950.


Memorial Day holiday will not impact waste collection in unincorporated Palm Beach County (PBC).


Below is very important news from the Solid Waste Authority and also below is more information about suburban (unincorporated) areas in PBC. “Suburban” is defined as outside the borders of a municipality, e.g., “suburban Boynton Beach” or “suburban Lake Worth”.

This information will be very helpful, informative, and enlightening for residents of this County who sadly rely on CBS12/WPEC for their news. If you are a viewer of NBC5/WPTV you are already very familiar about this important topic. However, for many viewers of CBS12 what you’ll learn about below may come as a big surprise.

For residents of PBC who DO NOT reside within any of the thirty-nine (39) municipalities here is news from the County’s Solid Waste Authority (SWA):


Garbage, recyclables and yard waste will be collected on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, for residents and businesses in unincorporated Palm Beach County. Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County disposal facilities are open and haulers in unincorporated Palm Beach County will run their regular routes. Residents should place all garbage, recyclables and yard waste curbside by 6:00 a.m.


SWA Customer Service can be reached at 561-697-2700 or 866-792-4636. Residents residing within city limits should contact their municipality directly for their Memorial Day collection schedule.

Where and what is unincorporated
Palm Beach County?

And for those of you wondering where every municipality in PBC is located (an exception being CBS12 which doesn’t care; more about that later), below is a new video from the Palm Beach County Property Appraisers Office. Please take a few moments and follow the instructions by Dino Maniotis, CFE, and afterwards try to find a location and see whether it’s actually within the municipal limits of a village, town or city.


Please note: After a few tries this new “mapping tool” becomes very easy to find locations (e.g., municipality vs. suburban areas) and to discover for yourself where all thirty-nine municipalities are in PBC:



More helpful information and about zip codes too.


Maybe you believe you’re located in a suburban area but not exactly certain? Or maybe you are a viewer of CBS12 and you don’t have much knowledge or are confused about a places called “unincorporated”. For example, just think everything west of the Town of Palm Beach on the Intracoastal to the Village of Wellington on the edge of the Everglades is ‘in Lake Worth’.

Or maybe you’re curious and wondering where your city, town, or village is in relation to other municipalities in the County? How can you find out? It’s very easy. Click on this link for the “Boundary Maps” in Palm Beach County.

And to illustrate how using the “mapping tool” actually works (video above) in combination with maps and more helpful information (see below) anyone in just a few minutes can find out where exactly a place is: whether in a municipality or not. Unless, of course, one is an assignment editor at CBS12 and just don’t care.

Briefly, to illustrate why NBC5 is the best source for TV news in the County is this recent news segment from Jennifer Tintner titled,
“Driver suspected in fatal suburban Lake Worth hit-and-run under arrest, PBSO says” [emphasis added]

To no ones surprise who cares about and follows the accuracy on TV news, CBS12 got it wrong once again:
“The collision happened on South Military Trail, just south of 10th Avenue North, in Lake Worth [sic]”

Wrong. Trying to correct the editors at CBS12 is a waste of time. The answer is to turn to NBC5 for your news on TV. And get all your friends and neighbors to make the switch too.

Now back on topic, locating the borders of villages, towns and cities vs. suburban (unincorporated) areas.


 Please read the captions below and then refer to the maps. Please note: Below are just examples. You can try this exercise using any location in PBC.

Click on images to enlarge.
This first map is a small part of eastern coastal CPBC. The white areas are called “unincorporated” (meaning outside the borders of a municipality).


Now take a short test (the answer is at the end of this blog post): Here is another recent false news report from CBS12, about a burglary at a car wash. That burglary DID NOT happen “in Lake Worth”
as reported. . .

Now using the tools above and below find out
where that burglary actually occurred. 
This second map uses “zip codes”. For example, zip code 33461 covers just a small part of “Lake Worth. Many zip codes as you can see overlap with municipalities and suburban areas.

For example, despite what you hear and read repeatedly in the press and news media, John Prince Park is not
‘in Lake Worth’. That County park is located in suburban Lake Worth.


And lastly, a recap. The most accurate TV news in PBC is from NBC5, by far, when it comes to accuracy and reporting where events and incidents occurred, or will be happening in the near future in places like “Lake Worth”. Because the next time you hear about a crime or event ‘in Lake Worth’ from CBS12 you know to find out whether it’s true of not from NBC5.

And don’t forget that Memorial Day “will not impact waste collection in unincorporated Palm Beach County”. And that includes all those residents in suburban Lake Worth too, including those areas with ‘Lake Worth’ zip codes on the edge of the Florida Everglades. The actual City of Lake Worth, if you didn’t know, is only 6 square miles. Hard to believe but it’s true.

ANSWER.

Using the tools above were you able to locate where that car wash burglary occurred?

The crime falsely reported by CBS12 as happening ‘in Lake Worth’ actually occurred on S. Congress Ave. south of Lantana Rd. in suburban Lake Worth!

Or more generally west of the Town of Lantana and north of the City of Boynton Beach. The nearest municipality where that car wash burglary happened? That would be the City of Atlantis about a mile to the north using Congress Ave.

“The City boundaries [of the Great Walled City of Atlantis] are Lake Worth Drainage District L-14 Canal on the north, Lantana Road on the south, Military Trail on the west, and South Congress Avenue on the east.”

Friday, May 25, 2018

Keep the faith everyone in Greenacres, Palm Springs, and Lake Clarke Shores. Your time will come.


And that time may come sooner than you think. Why? Gatehouse Media took over the operations at The Palm Beach Post on May 1st.


The change was very subtle and very quick. On March 2nd on p. 2 of the print edition, below the fold, “Gatehouse Media” replaced “Cox Media Group”:
Gatehouse Media took over the Palm Beach Daily News too. Luckily for both newspapers the property and offices at 2751 S. Dixie Hwy. were not sold off.

Anyhow. . .

Two and a half years ago the Post had a beat reporter assigned to the City of Greenacres. One of the last issues covered by the Post was the merge of the Greenacres PD with PBSO. The merge must be working out spectacularly because the editor(s) haven’t assigned a reporter to this story for, you guessed it, 2½ years. For dutiful and faithful readers of the print edition an update about crime stats from Greenacres may be surprising news. Or not surprising at all.

On the topic of public policy. . . What if another village, town or city is considering merging their police department with PBSO. An update about what happened in Greenacres would be most helpful, would it not?

By the way, many of you will be surprised to learn the City of Lake Worth located right here in Central Palm Beach County (CPBC) is smaller in land area than Greenacres and has a lower population as well. So what makes Lake Worth so special probably just came down to a coin flip or it’s a much shorter drive from the offices at the Post on Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach.

On the topic of CPBC how much do you know about the Village of Palm Springs and Town of Lake Clarke Shores? If you rely on the Post’s ‘Local’ section, not very much. But that may change if Gatehouse Media decides big changes are in order for that newspaper.


If the Post has so many resources why devote so much attention to just the City of Lake Worth? Are cities west of us just “flyover County”?
Aren’t you interested in what’s happening between the City of Lake Worth and the villages of Wellington and Royal Palm Beach?

The print edition of The Palm Beach Post’s Lake Worth Very Very Special Monday Collector Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE) is Every Monday. Each and every Monday. Do you live in Greenacres and desperately need the phone number for the Lake Worth sewer department? Parks and recreation? That’s right. You’ll find those phone numbers for the City of Lake Worth, and others, every Monday in the Post. Every single Monday for the last 2½ years.

More people in Greenacres by now could probably tell you the phone number for the Public Works Dept. in Lake Worth than know the phone number for their own Public Works Dept. in Greenacres (by the way, that phone number is 561-642-2071).


Why can’t Greenacres and Palm Springs
be special every now and then?

And Lake Clarke Shores too?
Every Monday the little 6-square-mile City of Lake Worth is highlighted along with much larger cities. Greenacres is a little city too. So is Palm Springs. And so is Lake Clarke Shores.


If you’ve been paying attention, read this blog, or get The Lake Worth Herald you have a real good idea what’s going on in Lake Worth. But imagine you live in Greenacres and have been trying everything to get the attention of a Post beat reporter. You grab that Monday paper and it’s the LWVVSMCPE again. Really?


“Ahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhhhh! God!!!!!!!!!”



This question about why Lake Worth is so special is certainly being pondered by residents, city governments and politicians in Lantana, Hypoluxo, Greenacres, Palm Springs, Atlantis, Lake Clarke Shores and other cities as well. And ask yourself this, why isn’t Delray Beach special? Lulu Ramadan is the Post beat reporter in Delray. Can anyone explain why Ramadan and Delray don’t get a special day now and then?

Six square miles. Six. 6. That’s the size of the City of Lake Worth. Palm Beach County is 2,386 square miles. Lake Worth is 0.25% of that. Lake Worth’s percentage of the County population? 0.0026. That’s it. However, if you’re a regular reader of The Palm Beach Post you’d think this City is a much bigger player on the stage. It’s not. We’re a blip compared to our neighbor to the north, West Palm Beach.

So. Do you live in Greenacres? Palm Springs? Have news you would like to see published in the Post print edition other than about a crime or vehicle crash? You’ll just have to keep working hard to get some attention and maybe some day soon you’ll get your Special Day in The Palm Beach Post too.

Just not Monday.

“PLEASE TAKE NOTICE” in this week’s Lake Worth Herald.


To see the front page of the Herald click on this link.
To contact the editor call 561-585-9387.
Pick up the print edition at the City’s newsstand located at 600 Lake Ave. in the Downtown. And get this: the Herald is still just ¢50!

Excerpt from a legal notice in the paper this week. . . 


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Planning & Zoning Board, of the City of Lake Worth, Florida, will hold a public hearing in the City Hall Commission Chambers, 7 North Dixie Hwy., at 6:00 PM or as soon thereafter as possible, on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 to consider a request by Corey W. O’Gorman of the PLACE Planning and Design, Inc., for the following:

PZB Projects: #18-01400002 - a Major Site Plan; #18-00500006 - a Conditional Use Permit; #18-01500005 - a Variance and an Administrative Adjustment request to allow for the construction of 14 two-story townhome units, in the form of three buildings, with a two-story residential community center to be located at the southwest corner of the intersection of North ‘A’ Street and 3rd Avenue North, PCNs: 38-43-44-21-16-000-0040, 38-43-44-21-16-000-0020, 38-43-44-21-16-000-0010, 38- 43-44-21-02-034-0022, and 38-43-44-21-02-034-0023.

Written responses can be sent to the Lake Worth Planning & Zoning Board at 1900 2nd Avenue N, Lake Worth, FL 33461 and must arrive before the hearing date to be included in the formal record. You also have the opportunity to attend the meeting to provide oral testimony. For additional information on the above issues, please visit the City of Lake Worth Division of Planning, Zoning and Historic Preservation located at 1900 Second Ave. North, Lake Worth, Florida 33461 or contact City Staff at 561-586-1687.

Florida Memory: A stroll back in time.


Lake Worth Casino and Baths c. 1920s:
Image from the State Archives of Florida,
Florida Memory collection.

“Send It [Lake Okeechobee water] South!” and another timely reminder.


“Going to government meetings doesn’t do anything. Nobody ever listens.”

They don’t? Think again. Briefly, scroll down and take a look at the image below.

Send It South! the “small but vocal minority” wailed and howled.


Published in The Palm Beach Post in October 2017 titled, “Hurricane Irma ended idea that we can ‘send water south’ ” by Mr. Mitch Hutchcraft of Fort Myers; an excerpt:


“While the system [operated by SFWMD and USACE*], as it stands today, is far from working perfectly, it is a flood-control system that enables nearly 8 million people to live in South Florida. [emphasis added] Through my service on the SFWMD, I was proud to make focusing on actually fixing problems a priority. That means that sometimes we have to ignore the small but vocal minority that will never settle for any solution other than ‘send the water south.’

From the editor at the Post: “[Mitch] Hutchcraft is a former member of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District.” 

“Nobody ever listens”?

Try telling that to the citizens in Pahokee, Belle Glade, South Bay and a whole lot of other residents in the Glades region here in Palm Beach County.
Send The Water South!” and another reservoir without fixing the Herbert Hoover Dike was a bad idea from the very beginning. But it took a large, vocal group of citizens in PBC to get everyone’s attention. The public showed up. In large numbers. They “spoke their mind”.

However, there remains a looming question:

JP Sasser, the former mayor of Pahokee and a frequent contributor to The Palm Beach Post, asks: “When are we going to get serious about our water?” and septic tanks along the Indian River Lagoon (IRL)?


“The final point was that the cities of Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay pumped our raw sewage into the lake. We have had modern centralized sewer systems for over 40 years.
     The Treasure Coast needs to look in the mirror. Some waters in Florida are polluted with human fecal matter — particularly the IRL.
     “Buy the land and send water south” is not the only road to water salvation.
     My question is: When are we going to get serious about our water? Florida’s agriculture-industry pollution is regulated statewide and has to meet specific limits. Our septic tanks are not held to the same requirements.”

Datelined May 4th is this from ABC News (originally an AP news story); an excerpt:

“It [IRL] has also been fouled by wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the lagoon, sewage spills from the plants during heavy rains, and leaky septic tanks.” [emphasis added]

Myth vs. FACT:

Fact from the SFWMD vs. the myth about
“Send The Water South!”

*USACE  =  United States Army Corps of Engineers; SFWMD  =  South Florida Water Management District.

2018 Lake Worth Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony at the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom.


The awards were given out last Wednesday evening (May 23rd). More information and images are below along with a message at the end of this blog post from Aimee Sunny, the City’s Preservation Planning Coordinator.

Announcing the ceremony, from a City
press release last month:

“The City of Lake Worth Historic Resources Preservation Board is pleased to announce the City’s second annual Historic Preservation Awards. I hope you’ll join us in recognizing the award winners that have contributed to preserving our City’s unique character and the people that helped make it possible. We are excited to continue with the annual awards program as there are many great new projects in the City.”

Quote by Darrin Engel, Chairman of the Lake Worth Historic Resources Preservation Board.


First, hope springs eternal a future historic preservation awards ceremony in this City of Lake Worth will be held in the lobby of the historic Gulfstream Hotel which still has approvals in place for a historic renovation, a new hotel to 65′ and a three-story parking garage. Although there is nothing historic about our Lake Worth Casino at the Beach any longer, what IS truly tremendous is the Ballroom at the Casino and the City officials and staff who overcame so many challenges to make this venue overlooking the Atlantic Ocean such a success:


A unique distinction on the second floor of the Casino Building is a 3,000 square foot ballroom that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean with wrap-around terraces and provides a perfect location for weddings, special occasions and other events.


In honor of National Historic Preservation Month and with the theme of “This Place Matters” the City of Lake Worth recognized award recipients in the following categories.


Click on all images to enlarge.
What structures are on the National and City “Register of Historic Places”? That and much more information can be found on the City’s Historic Preservation website.


Here is the agenda distributed showing the location
of various properties that received awards
in the various categories:
“Congratulations to all of the award winners!”


I am pleased to announce the Cottages of Lake Worth, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit corporation, and the group responsible for The Cottages of Lake Worth book, received the “Preservation Champion” award:
Preservation Champion or Organization: “Acknowledges the contributions of an individual or organization to restore and preserve historic structures or building components.”


Here are Yours Truly and Janice Snearer
with our individual certificates.
Janice was one of the earliest and chief organizers
of The Cottages book effort. Her name appears
on the front cover.


Taylor Jones did the photography. Excellent work.
In Memoriam from the Cottages book: “Prior to official publication, our primary writer, Dean Sherwin, passed away. From inception to completion, Dean never flagged in his passion for this project.”

Here is the message from Aimee Sunny last Wednesday night at the awards ceremony:

“This award is being given to The Cottages of Lake Worth, a local 501c3 non-profit organization, for all of their work in supporting historic preservation efforts in the City. The Cottages is the first recipient of this award which acknowledges the contributions of an individual or organization to the advancement, promotion, and support of historic preservation in the City.

The Cottages group published their signature book, The Cottages of Lake Worth: Living Large in Small Spaces in ​late 2016​ in order to highlight and celebrate the hundreds of unique, historic cottage structures in the City. The book was written by Dean Sherwin and Janice Snearer with photography by Taylor Jones.

In addition to their book, the Cottages hold yearly home tours, have installed informational plaques throughout the City, and have produced a walking and driving tour map of cottages in the City, in addition to continually advocating for the preservation and promotion of these unique architectural and cultural gems. Accepting the award tonight is Wes Blackman, the current president of The Cottages​ board of directors​, Janice Snearer ​who was ​one of the authors of the Cottages book, and Susan Nestler, who is accepting the award on behalf of her husband Dean Sherwin, who unfortunately passed away in 2016 prior to the publication of The Cottages book.

Dean was not only one of the authors of the book, but was also a never-ending advocate for the City and the cottage lifestyle. Also receiving awards are Roger Hendrix​ and​ Teresa Miller,* who are not able to attend this evening, but were instrumental in the formation of The Cottages organization and former Board members.​ Lastly, Taylor Jones, who also cannot attend this evening, is being recognized for her photography that makes u​p the greater part of the Cottages book.”


*To learn more about the founding members of the Cottages group click on this link for an article published in Nov. 2013 by former Palm Beach Post reporter Lona O’Connor.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Partnering or selling our Electric Utility to FPL: Is even suggesting this as a future possibility or option “verboten”?


verboten, adjective. Word origin German,
literally means “forbidden”.


Before you start looking for where you put the “slings and arrows” from the last time you got mad reading something on this blog. . .

The City of Lake Worth’s Electric Utility (LWEU) has always been a source of civic pride and of that there is no doubt. But once upon a time so was the Lake Worth Police Dept. and a lot of other things too. Everyone acknowledges the hard work and dedication of LWEU. Especially how the utility responded following hurricanes Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma in 2004–2005; all that hard work since was on display for everyone in South Florida and beyond after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma last year.

Our Electric Utility Director, Ed Liberty, has a wealth of experience and so does the City’s Electric Utility Advisory Board (EAUB). Dir. Liberty, for example, tackled the issue of street lights out, SNMREC don’t forget is still a real possibility, and there’s the solar field too. But what’s misunderstood by many in the public is how much energy the City of Lake Worth Electric Utility actually generates.

Yes, Lake Worth is indeed unique in that it’s the only city in Palm Beach County with it’s own municipal power plant but most of the City’s power is delivered via a tie-in line with FPL. Most of that power is generated using natural gas, nuclear, and yes, coal too. Note the words “a tie-in line” in the previous sentence. There is only one tie-in line and it will cost millions of dollars to build a second one.

There is no backup if that tie-in line is damaged or destroyed, e.g., in a hurricane or gets hit by a massive floating ball of mylar balloons which sounds like a joke but it’s not. Prior to Hurricane Irma, per a City press release from Public Information Officer Ben Kerr, LWEU scheduled a planned outage to remove balloons entangled in that tie-in line with FPL.

If you’ve been paying close attention, there is talk — in the very preliminary stages — of LWEU producing more of it’s own electricity by constructing a new power plant or upgrading the current Tom G. Smith Municipal Power Plant using natural gas. When those numbers start coming in and there’s “sticker shock” from the public what’s plan B?

Then there’s this from the minutes of the EUAB meeting on Oct. 4th, 2017:

Edward Liberty reported that about a week ago [last week of September] Gas Turbine #2 suffered a malfunction and to investigate staff conducted a borescope to determine cause. During the borescope it was discovered there was a loose turbine blade that caused major damage to the compressor. Unit was made unavailable and will need to be disassembled for repairs.
     With the Gas Turbine #2 out of commission the City may not meet the capacity requirement per the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) contract, this in turn will increase the City’s utility rate. Staff will work with OUC to come to an agreeable settlement.


Considering all the successes and accomplishments of the LWEU and the challenges, both infrastructure and maintenance going forward, shouldn’t the possibility of merging with FPL or selling the LWEU be discussed or is this “verboten”? And it’s also vitally important to remember the LWEU service area is not just the City of Lake Worth. Also receiving their electricity from LWEU are areas in the Village of Palm Springs and a large area in suburban Lake Worth (unincorporated Palm Beach County) as well. Click on this link to see the LWEU service area.

Lastly, whilst the City of Lake Worth has been working very hard to remain competitive with FPL vis-à-vis residential electric rates, for how long can the City remain competitive when it comes to technology up against a giant like FPL? And at what cost does having our own electric utility not be so “charming” any more?

“SAVE OUR POOL!” and “deja vu all over again” and again and again.


For some perspective it’s important to remember 3 years ago there were many who marched to City Hall to “SAVE OUR POOL!”, who actually presented viable ways to achieve that goal back then.


Here is a clipping from a former tabloid: “Look at other pools that have made it work and emulate them”:
One example: Wellington’s Aquatic Complex “features a 10,000 square foot building with administrative offices, concession stands, showers, rest rooms, lockers and classrooms for first aid, CPR, and lifeguard courses.


One of the experts on pools from 3 years ago was an Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) and former lifeguard/water safety instructor at the Lake Worth municipal pool. Below is a quote from the expert from that now-defunct former tabloid in April 2015:

“Look at other pools that have made it work and emulate them.”


There are more quotes, ideas, and suggestions (some of them actually very good) from the expert below. Here are the pools the City of Lake Worth should “emulate” to be successful, as explained back in 2015:
  • Wellington Aquatics Complex.
  • Ft. Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.
  • Plantation Aquatics Complex.

 

Let’s examine each one. Below is a photo from the Wellington Aquatics Complex.


Hmmm. Is that a water slide?
You can see more pictures of the Wellington Aquatics Complex at this website.


Now let’s examine the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex (FLAC). Here are the artist renderings from 3 years ago of a new facility that was being considered.


How about a facility like this at our
Beach in the City of Lake Worth?
You can see more lovely images of the current aquatics facility in Ft. Lauderdale using this link.


Here is more information about the history of FLAC:

In 1965 Fort Lauderdale welcomed the first hall of fame for swimming with the opening of the then National Swimming Hall of Fame and Fort Lauderdale Municipal Pool. Since then, 10 world records have been set in Fort Lauderdale while serving as host to hundreds of national and international events.


Now let’s examine the Plantation Aquatics Complex in Plantation, Florida. The following is from their website:

The facility regularly hosts competition swim and dive meets and is home to the Plantation Swim and Dive Teams – both ranked among the top in the nation. Both pools [note the plural] and the water playground are open to the public year round, and lifeguards are always on duty. . . . Locker rooms, a pro shop and bath house facilities are available as well. Picnic tables and canopied areas compliment the facility and encourage family visits.


Part of the pool complex in Plantation. Hey, what is that? A high-diving board? A water park for kids too!
Note all the above aquatic facilities have FREE parking. It cost $4 — each and every single time — to use the former pool at the Beach in Lake Worth.

Not very
“family-friendly” is it?

What do all these facilities have in common? They attract families, have modern amenities, and also have shops of some sort, whether pro shops or concession stands.

Here are more ideas from the expert cited above about the pool at the Lake Worth Beach:

  • “Push the fitness angle: Make the triathlon trail permanent (this can be handled by local businesses -- the city doesn’t have to pay for everything)”
  • Create packages for the pool, “parties in the Casino, bowling, movies.”
  • “Pool guards should be all part-time, to keep costs down.”
  • “Consider a subcontractor for Summer Learn to Swim. The county and/or private businesses that teach may be interested.”
  • “Contact Men’s Health Magazine and unabashedly lobby for a spot on America’s Top Ten Fittest Cities.”, and. . . “When that publicity kicks in, just answer the phones and check the mail.”

There may be some funds available in the travel budget to send a City official or two to Wellington, Ft. Lauderdale and Plantation to further investigate. You know, so we can “emulate” other aquatic facilities and be successful like other cities have been here in South Florida.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lake Worth Electric Utility: “Was the system hacked or just a dumb joke?”


See the breaking news by Post reporter McKenna Ross below. Would you like a T-shirt to memorialize this day when news about zombies in this little City of Lake Worth went viral all over the planet? Then click on this link to see the T-shirts available on Amazon.

Yours Truly, Wes Blackman, got quoted in the Sun Sentinel by reporter Tonya Alanez who called about a Tweet I sent out following the Zombie Alert:


Lake Worth warned its residents early Sunday morning to beware of “extreme zombie activity.”
     The zombie alert, sent at 1:41 a.m., was embedded within an alert meant to inform residents of a power outage. . . . The alert had a resident, Wes Blackman, asking: “Was the system hacked or just a dumb joke?”

Here is that Tweet:



And here is the breaking news from reporter McKenna Ross at The Palm Beach Post datelined Monday, May 21st:


LAKE WORTH — A city power outage alert in Lake Worth on Sunday caused concern in residents for its mention of zombies.
     That’s correct. Zombies.
     The message was sent during a power outage at about 1:45 a.m., but it also warned of “zombie alert for Lake Worth and Terminus,” potentially referencing the city in the zombie TV show “The Walking Dead.”
     “There are now far less than seven-thousand-three-hundred-eighty customers involved due to extreme zombie activity,” the notice said.

and. . .

     “I want to reiterate that Lake Worth does not have any zombie activity currently and apologize for the system message.”
     According to the post, Kerr said 7,880 customers were affected and that power was restored within 27 minutes.

Budget Work Session #1 tonight at the Lake Worth City Commission.


Yes. It’s that time once again.
The agenda for tonight’s Work Session is below.

Meet your mayor and commissioners in Districts 1–4:
Will lowering the millage rate by 0.25 mils be up for consideration once again to “send a strong message and encourage more investment”? Or keep the
rate where it is for “rainy days”?


During last year’s budget process, according to District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell (and current Vice Mayor Pro Tem), there hasn’t been a lowering of the millage rate in 10 years here in the City of Lake Worth. Although 0.25 mils is not substantial, according to Maxwell it would send a strong signal to Realtors, investors, and those considering relocating here in the future.

However, commissioners Andy Amoroso, Herman Robinson and Omari Hardy after considering the proposal were adamant that 2017 with so many budgetary unknowns, thought this year (2018) may be the year to discuss lowering the millage rate. If this issue does come up again in this year’s budget process be ready for a very lively discussion.

Here is agenda for tonight’s Work Session
beginning at 6:00 in City Hall:

Roll Call.
Pledge of Allegiance.
Updates, Future Action, Direction: 
A) Discussion about Class and Compensation Study (see below).
B) First Budget Work Session presented by Stantec:
  • Water Fund.
  • Electric Fund.
  • Beach Fund [always a fun and exciting discusssion!]
  • Budget Calendar.
Adjournment.

Also on the agenda is a “Discussion
about Class and Compensation Study”:


Department: Human Resources.
Executive Brief Title: Discussion of the draft Classification and Compensation Study.
Summary: The Classification and Compensation Study will establish the compensation philosophy and practices for the City of Lake Worth.
Background and Justification: A draft of a proposed Pay Plan developed by HR Compensation Consultants, LLC of Boynton Beach, Florida. They have produced plans for Palm Beach County public sector clients that include the Village of Wellington, Palm Beach County Tax Collector, and Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department, among others.

The City of Lake Worth has not completed a comprehensive analysis of our Classification and Compensation structure since 2006. The City hired Springsted, Inc. to perform a pay study in July of 2014. Due to turnover with the City of Lake Worth Human Resources Department as well as turnover with the original Springsted Consultants hired to perform this analysis, this project became stagnant over the years.

The original data analysis and recommendations were never fully completed, and what did exist became dated and obsolete. The current Human Resources Administration hired HR Compensation Consultants, LLC to analyze, update and verify the existing pay plan data as well as recommend new a new pay plan structure for the City.


As always, you can watch these meetings at home Live Streaming if you wish by saving this link. Use the link at or after 6:00 to watch the meeting Live.

From the Tom McGow archives, “History Lesson”.


Click on images to enlarge.
Why “bring up ‘historical facts’ that aren’t relative or even true?” Use this link to read the entire blog post by Tom McGow back in 2010.

By the way, no plaques were ever installed about the history of the Lake Worth Beach that were promised as part of the Casino building demolition and rebuilding plans back in 2010.

“. . . let’s let history speak for itself.”

1954

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Very important news for residents of the City of Lake Worth: Quiet Zones go into effect TODAY on FEC railroad tracks.


But first, before we get to the news from the Palm Beach Planning Transportation Agency. . .

Increasingly am hearing concern from many of the public here in the City of Lake Worth about “Quiet Zones” and whether there has been enough outreach to our residents who do not speak English or comprehend English well enough to understand what will be happening starting this week. Most everyone knows the safe and proper way to cross railroad tracks is at designated crossings. However, most everyone knows also that trespassing along and across the Florida East Coast (FEC) tracks happens quite frequently at all times of the day and night in this City.

The quiet zones in West Palm Beach along the FEC tracks that are used for Brightline passenger transport and freight traffic went into effect last week. The quiet zones in the City of Lake Worth go into effect today (Monday, May 21st).

This week might be a good time to get the Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council involved, or another volunteer organization like the Guatemalan Maya Center or El Sol in Jupiter (which has a strong social media presence) to find out the level of knowledge about quiet zones in the Guatemalan community — which is just one population of immigrants in this City — many of whom do not speak English. 

Why might this be a good idea? Because. . .

We need to “maximize our outreach activities to educate
the public” about quiet zones”
along FEC tracks.


Nick Uhren, the Executive Director of the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency (TPA) sent out the following information last week:


“Our office received the attached update from Brightline yesterday regarding construction of the supplemental safety measures (SSMs) required for quiet zone designation on the FEC railway. At this point, they have completed construction of the SSMs and installed and covered the required ‘No Train Horn’ signs in all cities except Boynton Beach.

West Palm Beach and Lake Worth have filed their notices of establishment (NOEs) with effective dates of May 14 [TODAY] and May 21, respectively. All other municipalities are now able to file their NOEs to allow for quiet zones following the 21-day notice period.”


FYI. For why it’s a good idea to be alert along the FEC train tracks and right-of-way, while having lunch this week at El Bohio, an excellent Cuban restaurant in Lantana, a Brightline train passed by going north:


Press release from the TPA continues:


“Brightline has requested, and I echo this point, that we all maximize our outreach activities to educate the public on the removal of the train horns and the importance of safe behavior at rail crossings. Please engage every possible channel in your efforts on this.

In Boynton Beach, the agreement providing TPA funds for design and construction of four (4) additional SSMs to support quiet zone designation was executed last week and these SSMs should be constructed in 2–3 months. At that time, Boynton Beach will also be able to file their NOE for quiet zone designation.”


A timely message from Brightline:

Press Release: 2nd Annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony in the City of Lake Worth is this Wednesday.


[Press Release is below. But first, please take note: The Lake Worth Casino IS NOT a historic structure. Hopefully some day the Historic Preservation Awards will be held in the lobby of the Gulfstream Hotel, a structure of true historic significance.The Casino structure presently at the Lake Worth Beach is new construction, a $6M replica of past Casino’s from our Citys long history.

Just to be clear. There is not one single structure at the Beach that is historic any more except for the historic arguments going back over a hundred years about what to do with that 19 acres at the Beach. To find out exactly what is listed on the National Register and the City’s “Register of Historic Places” click on this link.]


For more information about Wednesday’s ceremony contact Mr. Ben Kerr, the City’s Public Information Officer at 561-586-1631; email: BKerr@lakeworth.org
May is National Historic Preservation Month. Share this upcoming event using hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters

Press release follows:


Lake Worth, FL* — On May 23rd, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. the City of Lake Worth, Department for Community Sustainability, Division of Planning, Zoning and Historic Preservation in conjunction with the Historic Resources Preservation Board and the Historical Society of Lake Worth will host a ceremony in the Lake Worth Casino Ballroom to present the second annual Lake Worth Historic Preservation Awards.

Winners will be recognized with awards in five categories:
  • Rehabilitation/restoration.
  • Compatible new construction or addition.
  • Preservation of historic materials.
  • Preservation craftsman.
  • Preservation champion or organization.

The Historical Society of Lake Worth will also be presenting two awards for sensitive restoration and adaptive re-use of historic properties. After the ceremony a light reception will be held.

“The City of Lake Worth Historic Resources Preservation Board is pleased to announce the City’s second annual Historic Preservation Awards. I hope you’ll join us in recognizing the award winners that have contributed to preserving our City’s unique character and the people that helped make it possible. We are excited to continue with the annual awards program as there are many great new projects in the City.”

—Darrin Engel, Chairman of the Lake Worth Historic Resources Preservation Board.


*We are LAKE WORTH. A hometown City that is committed to delivering the highest level of customer service through a commitment to integrity, hard work and a friendly attitude. We strive to exceed the expectations of our citizens, our businesses, our elected officials and our fellow employees.”

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Vegetation Amnesty Week in the City of Lake Worth.


Vegetation pickup in Zone 4 is Tuesday, May 22nd.
For Zones 1–3 see bullet list below.


For more information contact Jason Yaeger, the City’s Solid Waste Supervisor on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m.–4:30 at 561-533-7396, 561-533-7344, or by email: jyaeger@lakeworth.org

PLEASE NOTE: Vegetation Amnesty is for RESIDENTIAL VEGETATION ONLY.


Vegetation Amnesty is for residents to dispose of large amounts of vegetation prior to the commencement of Hurricane Season but not to exceed 12 cubic yards per residential property (one cubic yard is the volume of vegetation which fits in a space one yard wide [3′] by one yard deep by one yard high).

All vegetation should be placed curbside on a resident’s regularly scheduled pick-up day and the City of Lake Worth’s Refuse Division will remove it at no charge. Vegetation will be picked up on the following days by zone (pay close attention to the dates!):
  • Zone 1: Monday, June 4th.
  • Zone 2: Thursday, May 24th.
  • Zone 3: Friday, May 25th.
  • Zone 4: Tuesday, May 22nd.

If you’re unsure which zone you are in, Zones 1–4 correspond to the City’s district map (Districts 1–4) represented your elected commissioner. Click on this link to view the map.

Definition of vegetation:

  • Tree branches less than 2″ in diameter.
  • Branches and palm fronds less than 4′ in length.
  • Stumps less than 15″ in diameter and/or less than fifty (50) pounds.

DO NOT USE THE GREEN VEGETATION BIN: Place ALL vegetation at the curb during Vegetation Amnesty.

If you would like more information about tree trimming please contact David McGrew, the City’s Horticulturist at 561-586-1677 or by email: dmcgrew@lakeworth.org

For more general information and media inquiries contact Ben Kerr, the City of Lake Worth’s Public Information Officer at 561-586-1631; email: bkerr@lakeworth.org


*We are LAKE WORTH. A hometown City that is committed to delivering the highest level of customer service through a commitment to integrity, hard work and a friendly attitude. We strive to exceed the expectations of our citizens, our businesses, our elected officials and our fellow employees.”