Saturday, June 2, 2018

City of Lake Worth news from July 2017: “New Electric Utilities Director Hired”.


Before we get to the news from last year, the biggest news in this City of Lake Worth is the news nobody is talking about. Yet. To find out what is going on there is a link at the end of this blog post. And no, it has nothing to do with ‘zombies’.

Lake Worth Electric Utility Director Ed Liberty will be with the City of Lake Worth one year coming up next month. Let’s take a look back to an article in The Lake Worth Herald last year:


“Lake Worth’s Oldest Established Business — Established in 1912”
The Herald newsroom is located at 1313 Central Terrace. Have community news? Use this link or
call 561-585-9387.

 

Excerpt from the front page news, July 13, 2017:


Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein has announced the selection of the candidate for Utilities Director for the City. Ed Liberty brings experience, expertise and leadership qualities to the City of Lake Worth Utilities Department.
     Liberty is an energy industry executive with experience in natural gas and electric T&D [Transmission and Distribution] operations, electric generation, renewable energy project development, energy and sustainability services and asset development.
     Most recently with Public Service Electric & Gas, Newark, New Jersey, Liberty has been the leader of the company’s utility operations with functions including Materials and Logistics Management, Transportation/Fleet, Environmental, Health & Safety and Training.

Welcome to the City of Lake Worth, Mr. Liberty.

The latest news about the Lake Worth Electric Utility is not good. But it’s in times like this when experience matters. Mr. Liberty demonstrated his mettle last year during Hurricane Irma. Liberty’s work during that storm was well-chronicled by the City of Lake Worth’s Public Information Officer (Mr. Ben Kerr), The Lake Worth Herald, and on this blog as well.

But the Electric Utility director’s work during that storm last year was never chronicled in The Palm Beach Post. Why not? Because their beat reporter and most everyone else at that paper hauled ass out of town before the storm arrived.

So when the next ‘storm’ hits and the Post finally gets around to reporting this story, maybe then they’ll finally get around to acknowledging how great a job the City’s Electric Utility, director, staff, and lineman (and out-of-town linemen too) performed last year.

But hope springs eternal. Last October the Post was put up For-Sale by the Cox Media Group. This year, on May 1st, Gatehouse Media took over operations. So when the next major storm hits, an actual weather event, maybe it will actually get chronicled in the County’s paper of record.

News about the City of Lake Worth by Palm Beacher Carleton Varney.*


A Special to the Daily News
(aka, The Shiny Sheet).


“[Y]ou should head just across the Lake Worth Bridge”, wrote Mr. Varney. To read the entire article click on this link; an excerpt follows:


     While you’re in Lake Worth, stop by ZaSu, which is named for ZaSu Pitts by the young charming woman who owns the shop, Larissa Fitzgerald. ZaSu was her grandmother’s favorite movie star, way back when there were real movie stars. ZaSu, 617 Lake Ave., sells women’s fashions in bright colors along with a mix of trendy jewelry and fragrances, all presented in an environment where creativity takes a starring role. And ZaSu knows how to picture frame its shop windows.
     I like to visit Lake Worth to dine — one of my favorites is Rustico Italiano, 701 Lucerne Ave. And I always stop by city Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso’s corner shop, Studio 205, at 600 Lake Ave.
     The shop is filled with just about everything from wraparound beachwear, to perfume, to costume jewelry. It is the place I go to buy my newspapers — local publications as well as international ones — from the racks on the sidewalk. Andy is a special host all his own. He knows everything about everything and everybody in this little town to the south, which is home to pretty painted cottages, the historic casino swimming pool and so many charming boutiques.


*“Palm Beacher Carleton Varney is president of Dorothy Draper & Co., an international design firm with offices in New York, West Palm Beach, London and White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Visit CarletonVarney.com or email him at cvarney@dorothydraper.com”

A man ahead of his time: Former CBS12 reporter Jonathan Beaton.


Before news organizations such as The Palm Beach Post got around to tackling the issue of ‘sober homes’ that were tearing apart our communities and neighborhoods here in Palm Beach County there was a TV news reporter already on the story.

Jonathan Beaton* was a former radio personality in Orlando. He wanted to try and make his way into TV news. In doing so, unfortunately, he ended up inking a contract to work for one of the worst TV news stations in the United States: CBS12. That news station is terrible now. But imagine ten times more terrible. That was CBS12 three years ago.

But Mr. Beaton had no clue. He thought CBS12 was just your average TV news station. But through it all Mr. Beaton managed to get beyond the noise and the nonsense and make a huge impact. With little experience and left mostly on his own he listened to the public. He asked what was troubling people here in our City of Lake Worth. The answer was so-called ‘sober homes’ that were opening up all over town. People frightened about a sober home one block over were waking up the next day to find one right next door. Once a single family home with a For-Sale sign became a place with six, eight, or even ten ‘residents’. Crime went up. For-Sale signs went up. More sober homes opened up.

Mr. Beaton has gotten erased from CBS12. His stories got scrubbed. It is like he never worked there. But he did. Below is the proof. Although the link has been deleted here is an excerpt from one Beaton’s news segments from May 2015:


LAKE WORTH — A Palm Beach County town wants to drop the hammer on sober homes, demanding more oversight over the controversial halfway houses at the federal level.
     CBS 12 learned a Lake Worth commissioner recently made the trip up to Washington D.C., meeting with some of Florida’s most powerful lawmakers discussing how to finally get the problem under control.
     It’s an issue he has investigated for years, sober homes and their occupants moving into neighborhoods filled with families.
     “They are buying up property and renting property in and around neighborhood children,” said Andy Amoroso. [emphasis added]
     Commissioner Amoroso just met with several Florida lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Lois Frankel, presenting the problem and asking for solutions.
     His contention, the halfway houses often increase crimes of opportunity, disrupting neighborhoods where families and children should live in peace.


Meet Jonathan Beaton:
The good news is Mr. Beaton bounced back quickly after leaving CBS12. Click on this link to learn more about, “Whatever happened to that reporter who sounded like Orson Welles?”


Partly due to reporters like Beaton the issue of sober homes became a huge issue for our elected leaders at the County and State level. Also in May 2015 State Rep. Lori Berman, now State Senator Lori Berman, delivered a legislative update to the Lake Worth City Commission. At the 12:15 mark District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell and Berman have an interesting back-and-forth on the role of insurance companies in this important debate.


Remember. This video is from three years ago:


By the way. . .

In the video above are two former commissioners: Chris McVoy, PhD, and Ryan Maier. MeVoy was re-elected in March 2015. Maier was a political newcomer and he was elected in March 2015 as well. Both McVoy and Maier won because they opposed the Neighborhood Road Bond in August 2014. One of the major reasons given to voters to oppose the bond vote were concerns over sea level rise. That bond vote in 2014 failed by just 26 votes.

Imagine how far ahead our City would be right now had that bond vote passed? 

In March 2017 McVoy got booted out of office. He opposed the November 2016 bond too. Why? Once again sea level rise was given as a major reason to vote “No”. But sixty-nine percent of the electorate voted “Yes”. Maier opted not to run for re-election in District 4. Now Commissioner Omari Hardy represents District 2 and Commissioner Herman Robinson represents District 4. They were both elected because they stressed how important it was to fix our streets and sidewalks.

Yes. Sea level rise is an important topic.

But so is public safety.


*Johnathan Beaton is now the president of Inside Advantage PR: “Not all public relations firms are created equal. We’re a different kind of a media relations agency. One that is purely results driven and client orientated. Started by former journalists, with a knack for storytelling and branding, in every market.”

Friday, June 1, 2018

“1948 Gulf Oil Map”


Click on image to enlarge:
From the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Did you miss Trolls last month? Then come out this evening and see Moana at Screen on the Green!


The fun starts at 6:30 in
the Downtown Cultural Plaza.

Click on image to enlarge:
The City of Lake Worth is your official source for “Special Events”. Click on this link to learn more: The Soul Food Festival is this tomorrow in Bryant Park from 3:00–9:00 and Mango Festival is
coming up on June 16th!

Request For Proposal (RFP) #18-208: “Beach Equipment Rental Concession” at the Lake Worth Beach.


Important Information:

  • Pre-bid meeting: None.
  • Deadline to submit questions has passed.
  • Questions? Send an email to: Purchasing1@lakeworth.org

RFP #18-208:


The City of Lake Worth is seeking proposals for the purpose of establishing a contract to serve as an independent contractor to the CITY for operation of a Beach Equipment Rental Concession.

and. . .

Time is of the essence and any proposal received after 3:00 p.m., June 6, 2018, whether by mail or otherwise will be returned unopened. Proposals shall be placed in a sealed envelope, marked in the lower left-hand corner with the RFP number, title, and date and hour proposals are scheduled to be received. Proposers are responsible for insuring that their proposal is delivered and stamped by the Financial Services Office personnel by the deadline indicated. The City reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject any or all proposals and/or to waive all non-material irregularities on any and all proposals. All costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, incurred by any firm in preparing and responding to this RFP are the sole responsibility of the proposer including without limitation any and all costs and fees related to a protest.

Interested parties may obtain a copy of the RFP by contacting the Financial Services Office at 561-586-1651 or from the City’s website, “Bids & Proposals”.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Delray Beach Historical Society presents: “The Prehistory of Coastal Palm Beach County”.


“HERITAGE LECTURE
SERIES”


To learn more about the speaker,
Christian Davenport, click on this link.

The municipal pool at the Lake Worth Beach was shut down 7½ years ago. Why? Not enough money in City budget.


A previous City administration discovered in October 2010 that having an Olympic-sized lap pool at the Beach wasn’t economically feasible. Then something very interesting happened the very next year.

But first, enjoy this video:



Our precious pool wasn't making enough money to stay open. So it was shut down in 2010. . .

So revenue was a concern, you see. Or was. The city manager back then was Susan Stanton. She was fired in 2011 and a few months later Michael Bornstein was hired to be the city manager. Now fast forward to 2015 following all the pressure that was put on Bornstein and the City to reopen the pool, which it was, but guess what happened next? A surprising turnaround. Learn more about that below.


 Some former electeds and administration official
responsible for this mess at the Beach:
From L to R, facing: Joann Golden has her hand on Suzanne Mulvehill’s shoulder, Chris McVoy, PhD, Susan Stanton (former city manager), and Cara Jennings (on far right).

The surprising turnaround. . .

The very same former commissioners from that prior administration who closed the pool in 2010 all of sudden in 2015 were no longer concerned the pool complex was losing money to the tune of $123,000 that fiscal year. It was now an ‘amenity’ that must remain open no matter what the burden or shortfalls in City budgets.


Here are the numbers to keep the pool
open three years ago:
Then came the cry, “Just increase the pool hours to make up the shortfall!” But with every increase in hours comes with it an increase in cost. The shortfalls don’t go away because of additional hours open.


If we are to conclude that a pool at the Beach is a precious amenity that must remain open then why did a previous administration close it? Looking out to future City budgets if the pool was losing $300,000 or $500,000 every year who would be tasked with footing the bill? Would the nearby well-heeled residents in the Town of Palm Beach help with the shortfalls funding this ‘precious amenity’?

The point here is the pool was ignored as an amenity for many years even though its value was used to compute the percentage of the ‘renovation’ to the Casino building. But the so-called renovation wasn’t a renovation at all. It was new construction. The pool was just the distraction.

The IG had a thing or two to say
about that back in 2011.

Click on image to enlarge:

So. Still think constructing a new pool
at the Beach is a good idea?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

State of Florida Archives. Lantana, Florida. Chaffin family home after hurricane of 1928.


Credit: State Archives of Florida,
Florida Memory.

Two excerpts from Mayor Pam Triolo’s State of the City Address. . .


Held on February 8th this year in the
Lake Worth Casino Ballroom. . .


     One of the most exciting stories in Lake Worth is about our Electric Utilities. No conversation about Lake Worth Electric is complete without talking about electric bills. Remember when people were openly and loudly talking about whether or not to move to or move from the City based on Lake Worth Electric?
     The high rates coupled with reliability issues, especially during storms, conspired to create a serious disincentive to investment. The Commission took action to create a plan to turn our reputation around.

and. . .


     While the electric bill is important, it is no bargain if the flow of electricity is unreliable. To that point, our reliability was genuinely tested when Hurricane Irma hit last year. Lake Worth Electric did an outstanding job. Before that our last big test was when Frances, Wilma and Jeanne hit our area.
     Outages in parts of our service area lasted as long as a month. However, during Irma we actually beat FP&L back to service in our area by almost a full day! That is a result of numerous improvements to the system, better processes, and of course the dedication and hard work by the Electric Utility staff and the outside contractors.
     And while I am talking about Irma, she served as a reminder that as a City we must be prepared for hurricanes. Staff did a tremendous job coordinating the various aspects of preparing, riding out the storm and then working to get the City back up and functioning:
  • City sanitation crews hauled away over 50,000 cubic yards of debris.
  • Building division and code compliance staff inspected over 10,000 properties as part of disaster assessment activities.
  • Over 40 e-news updates went out to keep citizens and businesses informed — an effort that far outpaced our neighboring cities.

It was rewarding to see firsthand the efforts and the caring attitude exhibited by our staff. While they have their own families and homes to worry about, they were here working for Lake Worth.
     I want recognize the hard work and initiative of the Commission. When it mattered the most, you did not leave, but stayed through the storm and then went out into the field to be additional eyes and ears for the community.
     You touched many lives and helped make sure we did not stop working until every last citizen was back to normal. Every year since I have been mayor, we have updated, reworked and practiced our Emergency Management Plan was no exception, with a lot of effort by the city manager to put the organization through its paces.
     But our Emergency Management Plan is not just about hurricanes. It covers other emergency events 190 ranging from a catastrophic failure of the I-95 overpass to a gas line explosion. We anticipate 6 potential emergencies, practice our response and prepare for the ‘just in case’ scenario. You can rest assured that your City government is in a constant state of readiness.

November 8th, 2016: Public was asked to speak in this City of Lake Worth. And that they did. Very loudly.


And everyone needs to remember what the
public said just over 1½ years ago.

Following the elections in November 2016, from Rick Christie, editor at The Palm Beach Post:

“Lake Worth is poised for some major upgrades following residents’ approval — by a whopping 69 percent. . .”


Below are two quotes by Mr. Christie, a reminder:

Stay focused on fixing our potholes, roads and sidewalks, infrastructure, transportation network and economic development in this City of Lake Worth.


The public spoke in 2016.


Result from City of Lake Worth’s Neighborhood
Road Bond from the General Election held
on November 6th, 2016.
“FOR BONDS”. Make no mistake, this was a very powerful message from the public to their elected leadership in this City of Lake Worth.


The public said,

“FIX OUR STREETS
AND POTHOLES”.

“Tired about the condition of your
neighborhood roads?”
From Palm Beach Post editor Rick Christie, “A few quick takeaways from 2016 election”:

Lake Worth is poised for some major upgrades following residents’ approval — by a whopping 69 percent [emphasis added] — of a $40 million road repair bond; and a little help from the sales tax hike.” . . .

“But the other reason city residents may soon be dancing in those repaired streets is because of the penny increase in the sales tax. Part of the proceeds — about $540 million — over the next decade will be split among the county’s 39 municipalities.
     That could be another $10 million toward roads, parks and other infrastructure repair in the city. While officials in cities like Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton snubbed the sales tax largesse, Lake Worth did no such thing. And residents should reap the benefits.


And don’t forget the observations from the Post editorial board from back in 2014 about how badly a previous City administration neglected the needs of so many neighborhoods.


“[T]his is a testament. . .”:
“. . . to just how long previous commissions have ignored the city’s basic needs.”

Whilst roads in the City crumbled, “previous commissions” wasted millio
ns of dollars on shiny objects and ignored our roads and sidewalks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The bad news from Lake Worth City Commission Budget Work Session #1 held last week (video below).


This is a re-post for those of you who may have missed this. Already read this blog post from last week? Thank You for visiting once again today and please scroll down.

The REAL NEWS about this City of Lake Worth is not good. But the good news is there are meetings next week (see below) that will hopefully clarify this situation and provide possible solutions.

PLEASE NOTE: At the end of this blog post, following City’s YouTube video from May 22nd, are “takeaways” from District 2 Commissioner Omari Hardy.


Most everyone knows the Beach Fund is a disaster and now raising parking rates at the Beach is a very real possibility. The Water Fund is holding its own. And last week we learned there are problems with the Electric Fund. The specter of a rise in electric rates is a very real one.

As explained by the representatives from Stantec, due to lower demand for electricity and lower than expected projections made in 2016 either revenue needs to increase or expenses need to decrease. With so many focused on system hardening now the answer may be a combination of both.

Electric Utility Director Ed Liberty was part of the discussion and he offered a lot of insight including, for example, the possibility of renegotiating electricity generation contracts and why he is focused on cutting down on City utility overtime and having the private sector take on more projects. As part of the Neighborhood Road Bond and upgrading the City’s road network many electric poles will have to moved, a very costly operation.

Let’s just say, for now, there are a lot of moving parts. There will also be three more budget work sessions prior to the final budget to come up with answers to these problems. 


An image from Budget Work Session #1,
“Urgent action needed”:
Three upcoming meetings next week may offer helpful insight: The Finance Advisory Board meets on Monday, June 4th. The next City Commission meeting is on June 5th and Electric Utility Advisory Board meets the next day, June 6th.


Without further ado. . .



From Commissioner Hardy:


Takeaways from last night’s budget meeting. For now, I’ll focus only on the Electric Fund. It’s in bad shape guys. 

1) Revenue in the electric fund did not grow as we expected it to grow. Residential customers barely increased, commercial customers barely increased, and electric usage per household was down, even when you account for the fact that we didn’t sell power for a week after Irma. By the way, decreasing usage is a national trend; we can’t control or combat it.

2) We have to pay several million dollars to the Orlando Utility Commission (OUC) because our ability to generate power dipped by an unacceptable amount for an unacceptably long period of time. This happened because a piece of equipment in our ancient power plant failed. Our contract with OUC requires us to put money up if our power generation capacity dips below a certain amount. This amount, for us, will be around $2.5 million. While some may want to treat this is a one-time issue, I don’t. Our power plant is a museum of sorts; the equipment is very old; old equipment breaks a lot. If our equipment continues to fail, and if these failures continue to reduce our capacity to generate power, then charges like this might not be so infrequent. That said, we are in the market for new contracts, and we hope that whatever contract we ink with whatever partner we choose will not have clauses like the one that's forcing us to pay this money to OUC. But I don’t know how likely that is. These sorts of clauses are not uncommon.

3) More broadly, the Electric Fund is in trouble. It’s in trouble because revenues are lower than we expected, and operating expenses are higher than we expected. We currently have 2.9 months of reserves, or money that is put to the side for liquidity or in case we have an emergency (like a when a piece of equipment fails). But by the end of this year, we're expected to have only 17 days of reserves, and by the end of next year, we expect that our reserves will be more than depleted. We have to do everything in our power to ensure that doesn’t happen.

4) So what’s within our power?
  • We can cut costs by $6 million annually, and solve our problem with reserves by 2021. This amounts to Ed Liberty, our electric utility director, like pulling a rabbit out of his hat. I don't know that anyone wants the sustainability of one of the city’s most important funds to depend on an employee doing magic. When I asked Ed how he expected to do this, I got anything but an answer. That’s not a knock on Ed, that’s a knock on the situation he inherited. He’s been in the job only 8 months, and he has numerous messes to clean up, none of which he made. This is another mess. I don’t know how he cleans it up.
  • We reduce the “franchise fee,” the amount that the electric utility pays into the general fund, from 8% of revenues to 0% of revenues, and that would . . . actually not solve our problem at all. We’d still have to do other things to make the fund sustainable. Meanwhile the general fund would be on life support if we did that, and vital services that we provide to the residents would be in jeopardy.
  • We can grow the amount of residential and commercial customers that we have by a lot, and that would help, but it still wouldn’t solve our problem. Additionally, new customers come from new meters, and new meters come of new residential and commercial construction. Our zoning code pretty much ensures that we will never grow at the rate required to make a serious dent in the Electric Fund’s sustainability problem. Forget about it.
  • We can raise electric rates. If growth continues to be sluggish, which it will, then we would have to raise rates by a lot for two straight years to fix this problem. That’s deeply unpalatable.
    It would seem that we have no good options here. That’s all I have for now. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks!


    For the phone number and email address for Commissioner Hardy and all the members of the City Commission click on this link. If you decide to contact one or more of your elected officials please remember to be respectful and it’s actually OK to say nice things if you want to.

    For people who are really, really sick of having their bike stolen (or ‘ganked’ as some call this crime). Kaboooooooom!


    FYI: The blog post below is from June 2016 when this City of Lake Worth was going through a particularly bad time with bike thefts. In response the City Commission and PBSO came up with new ordinances and went about putting together a successful public relations campaign.

    Yes, bike theft was a very big deal two years ago. But so was getting people to lock up their bikes! People reporting their bikes stolen was skewing the crime rate which City Manager Michael Bornstein pointed out often. Bike locks work. If you use a good one and know how to use it.

    Anyhow, here is one idea that thankfully, in retrospect, never shot off here in this City. And momentarily you’ll find out why. Kabooooooooooom!


    The excerpt below is from an article in CityLab. If this item becomes available locally, like at my bike shop Relentless Bicycles downtown, it won’t be a secret for long. Fire in the hole! Our PBSO Cpt. Baer’s thoughts on this idea would be interesting to hear. Deputies on patrol can ride around and just listen for the explosions and race to the scene.

    Take note of the link in the first paragraph; this is a KickStarter campaign in case you’re interested (by the way, this is what the word “ganking” means):


         To prevent a thief from ganking your bike, you can try securing it with a U-lock or heavy-duty chain. Or, for fans of the bombastic approach, there’s now an alarm that detonates when disturbed, rousing the whole neighborhood with an echoing boom.
         The “Bike Mine” is the dastardly creation of London’s Yannick Read, a longtime bike-hacker who’s also made a cycle with a deafening train horn and another that shoots flames at motorists who get too close. The device consists of a bit of titanium wire, a spring-loaded trap, and a “saluting cartridge” typically shot off at military ceremonies and royal birthdays. It latches onto your frame with Velcro and, when somebody moves the bike, detonates in a 150-decibel cacophony of sparks and smoke, like so:



    Is City of Lake Worth, a little 6-square-mile municipality, the “bike theft capital of world”?


    No. Of course not. This is an example of what’s called hyperbole. Below is the headline that appeared in The Palm Beach Post from a beat reporter about bike thefts here in the City of Lake Worth:

    Is Lake Worth really ‘bike theft capital of world?’ Some think so.


    First off, asking a question in a newspaper headline is a big no-no and something headline editors should never do. Here are two more excerpts from that article back in 2015:

         City Manager Michael Bornstein said it’s an issue the city needs to address.*
         “Do I think it’s a problem?” Bornstein asked. “Yes. It skews our crime statistics and it’s downright aggravating.”

    and. . .

         “People won’t buy the bike they want to buy,” he [Mike Ogonowski, owner of Relentless Bicycles at 702 Lucerne Ave.] said. “They’ll buy a cheaper one because they just feel it’s going to get stolen.”
         But Ogonowski said riders need to invest more money in better locks to deter thieves. Too many bicyclists, he said, are opting to buy an $18 braided steel lock that can be easily clipped as opposed to a $36 chain lock that is harder to break.


    For new residents of Lake Worth and others concerned about having their bike stolen below is information that is very useful to protecting your ride. 

    If you just read the silly headline in the Post and scanned the text by their beat reporter you might come away thinking we’re indeed leading the world in bike thefts. We’re not. Not even close. Here’s a link to a short blog post I penned that day when this ‘news’ first came out.

    The issue of bike theft is an easy one to understand but you had to get far into the article to learn about that. One of the clues why people are having their bikes stolen can be found in this video that accompanied the Post article. A bicyclist tells his story about his bike being stolen and in a dramatic scene the cyclist gets on his new bike and rides down the road. Guess what’s missing?

    THERE’S NO BIKE LOCK! 

    Really folks, doesn’t that explain it all? To secure a bike you need a quality lock. Get a lock affixed to your bike or in a pouch so it’s always there. Bike riders in South Florida have known for many years there is a problem with bike theft so take the necessary precautions.

    If you’re a Lake Worth resident go to one of our local expert bike shops and learn where to lock your bike and just as importantly, how to lock your bike properly:

    Meet Mike Ogonowski of Relentless Bicycles.
    Stop by his shop and learn ways to keep
    your bike from being stolen.

    There are two local bike shops in the little City of Lake Worth where you can purchase a lock that will better deter thieves from stealing your ride:

    Relentless Bicycles
    702 Lucerne Ave
    561-547-1396

    and. . .

    Family Bicycle
    127 South Dixie Hwy
    561-533-6040

    Best of luck or you can do what a server at Brogues DownUnder did as quoted in the Post article after his bike was stolen from the back lot of the restaurant:

    “I take Uber now,” he said.


    *FYI: The City of Lake Worth has an ordinance which states that, “any bicycle left over 48 hours is considered abandoned.
         Report any abandoned bicycles on City of Lake Worth public property, e.g., sidewalks, street signs, bike racks. If you know of a bicycle that has been left on a public right-of-way for more than 48 hours please call 561-533-7383. 

    Brightline and public safety: “There’s Only One Message: Stay Off the Tracks!”


    “Anti-Rail Campaign Puts Agenda Above Public Safety.”

    To read the entire press release click on this link. Here are two excerpts:

    In light of recent tragic incidents in Florida — and an unhelpful political campaign targeting the Brightline rail service [emphasis added] — the Rail Passengers Association, the Association of American Railroads and the American Public Transportation Association are coming together to educate the public on the importance of safe behavior around railroad tracks: it is never ok to use tracks as walking paths, and tracks should only be traversed using properly marked grade crossings.
         Unfortunately, some local political action groups have attempted to use these incidents in a campaign to impose new government regulation on railroads. Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE-FL) issued a press release suggesting it is ok and normal for kids to use railroads as a walking path. The fact is, the only safe place to cross rail tracks is at a designated public crossing, which are marked by flashing lights, a gate, crossbucks, or a combination of these safety signals.

    and. . .

         “These tragic accidents are opportunities to teach pedestrians how to avoid dangerous situations, and we are committed to helping spread that message,” said Jim Mathews, President and CEO of RPA. “What CARE-FL has done in endorsing railroad rights-of-way as a way to get to and from school is equivalent to telling kids it’s ok to play in traffic.”
         “All of us have a role to play in preventing these tragedies, including discouraging reckless behavior on and around railroad tracks,” said AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger. “Tracks are not playgrounds or shortcuts. When you see tracks, you need to think train.”

    How to help get this very important information out to the public:

    For more information on how to properly educate children and teenagers on how to stay safe around trains, you can find a number of resources at Operation Lifesaver.

    “Why We’re Here”

    Our mission is to end collisions, deaths and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad property through a nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety.

    To become a volunteer for Operation Lifesaver click on this link and show how much you really CARE.

    “Don’t Tell Me What To Do!!”


    whomever spray-painted “SPREAD ANARCHY” made a grievous grammatical error per the rules in anarchist cells: “never, ever use capital letters because that is a display of hierarchy in the english language!”
    Whilst on the topic, have you read the classic 2011 treatise penned in Greece about the City of Lake Worth from the ‘Olive-laden Hills of Kalamata’ by Anarchist Panagiotis Evangellos Nasios Tsolkas titled, “To vote or to occupy. Shouldn’t that
    be the question?

    Monday, May 28, 2018

    Just in case you missed this yesterday, a blog post about an urgent request:


    An urgent request for volunteers: “PLEASE! Can you commit to ½ hour one day a week for 8 weeks?”

    “Heads Up Everyone in this
    City of Lake Worth. . .”


    Here is the urgent call for volunteers
    from Mary Lindsey:


    This year’s reading proficiency test scores for our 3rd graders have been published* and they are not good! Could you volunteer and help by reading books to kids coming to school for breakfast or lunch?

    Your Lake Worth Little Free Libraries (LFL) has a way for anyone willing to help these kids get better at reading. You can volunteer and commit to:
    • Reading to children for ½ hour one day a week (Monday–Friday).
    • For 8 weeks (June 5th–July 27th).
    • YOU pick the school (see list below) and YOU pick the time (see draft calendar below).
    • For more information email Mary Lindsey at: LakeWorthLFL@gmail.com

    Where do the books come from?

    The Little Free Libraries have the books!


    So when the kids show up for a FREE breakfast (8:00–8:30) and lunch (11:30–noon) provided by the PBC School District, volunteers with books from LFLs can read to these children and then hand out books for them to take home.

    Schools in the City of Lake Worth participating in this food program and need volunteers are:

    • Barton Elementary, 1700 Barton Rd.
    • Highland Elementary, 500 Highland Ave.
    • North Grade Elementary, 824 North ‘K’ St.
    • South Grade Elementary, 716 South ‘K’ St.


    Here is the draft calendar for LFL volunteers:
    “YOU pick the time and YOU pick the school.”


    *See the results below. Completely unacceptable. These reading levels have to go up. The Little Free Libraries can most certainly help to turn this situation around. 

    Folks, this is just terrible news. Twenty-four percent are reading at Level 3 at Highland Elementary? Barton and South Grade aren’t much better. North Grade elementary is leading at 50%?
      

    Click on image to enlarge:
    Mary is asking, “PLEASE! Can you commit to ½ hour one day a week for 8 weeks?”

    City of Lake Worth: Welcome McKenna Ross to the team at The Palm Beach Post!


    UPDATE: There is no update. It’s an old, tired story and nobody really cares any more. But do you remember who originally broke the news about that “Zombie Alert”? Please continue reading to find out!

    Who is McKenna Ross?

    It was Ross who first broke the story in the online edition, “Lake Worth falsely sends out ‘zombie’ alert during power outage” last Tuesday, May 22nd. See excerpts from that breaking news below. To follow Ross on Twitter click on this link.

    That’s right. It was this story by Ross which then proceeded to spread around the world, well, sort of like “The Walking Dead”.

    But then the very next day something very curious happened. Remember, Ross broke the original story on Tuesday, May 22nd. Then in the next day’s print edition was a front page story below the fold, “By Kevin D. Thompson”. The story continued on page A11. At the very end of the article was this:

    “Palm Beach Post Staff Writer McKenna Ross contributed to this report.”

    Contributed? She broke the story! Why wasn’t Ross on the front page byline?

    But anyhow, before we get to the news last week from Ross about that erroneous push alert sent out by the City, let’s briefly take a step back.

    This whole “ZOMBIE” thing started in the early morning hours on Sunday, May 20th. Then Yours Truly sent out several Tweets about this situation to inform the community later in the afternoon. The Tweet below as of today is up to 944 ReTweets and 386 “Likes”. Who knew zombies were so popular!


    Please pause for Tweet to load:



    “Was the system hacked or just a dumb joke?”

    Without further ado. . .


    Two excerpts from the original news from McKenna Ross, the news that by Wednesday, May 23rd, had spread all around this Planet Earth:


    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.

    Then on Facebook as reported by Ross, Mr. Ben Kerr, the City’s Public Information Officer posted this message:


         “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.
         Push alerts have become common in our cellphone driven age, and this wasn’t the first to startle those who receive it.
         In February, the National Weather Service sent out a monthly “test” notice as practice for warnings about tsunamis. Some of those agencies, including the AccuWeather service, responded by sending alerts to their customers saying a storm was imminent.
         In January, an error sent a warning about an imminent ballistic-missle threat to residents of Hawaii.


    So now you know. When anyone brings up the news referring to that erroneous push alert about “ZOMBIES” in this little City of Lake Worth you know the whole story. Well. At least until this City issues a press release. Stay tuned all you zombies.

    Attention all artists in the City of Lake Worth: Learn more about AEI, “Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute”.


    This is a FREE
    informational session.


    To find out more about AEI click on this link.

    Or to find out how this program will take your
    career as an artist to the next level. . .

    Contact Emily Theodossakos, the Marketing and Program Manager at The HATCH located at 1121 Lucerne Ave. in this little City of Lake Worth: Call 561-493-2550 on Mon.–Fri. from 8:00–5:00 or send an email to: etheodossakos@lakeworth.org


    More information about AEI is below.
    AEI will be presented at Fort Lauderdale’s ArtServe, Inc., 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd. from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. on June 2nd, 9th and 16th featuring twenty modules on four consecutive Saturdays. AEI concludes on June 23rd with a 9:00 a.m.2:00 p.m. “Business Plan Clinic and Workshop”.

    WARNING. A new idea is below. New ideas can be very upsetting for some here in Lake Worth. You’ve been warned.


    And it’s also important to remember this blog is not required reading. If you get upset and yell, “Clutch The Pearls!”, it’s your fault.

    Last chance.




    From an article by Peter Schorsch at the SaintPetersBlog titled, “Can public drinking revitalize downtowns?” are these first 4 paragraphs:


         In an attempt to bring tourists and young people back to aging downtown districts, many cities have legalized outdoor drinking — and it has been somewhat successful in revitalizing those areas, according to an article from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
         In 2016, cities in Mississippi and Ohio legalized “outdoor refreshment areas,” zones where patrons can carry drinks in the street, often in plastic containers rather than cans or glass bottles.
         The new wave of cities follows similar laws passed in Nashville; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Mobile, Alabama, in recent years in an effort to draw in millennials and boomers to turn around lagging downtown districts. [emphasis added]
         Most of these refreshment areas cover a pre-defined zone with police patrolling the borders to keep alcohol, and the rowdy behavior that sometimes accompanies it, from spreading into other areas of the city.


    Just for fun, think of places for an ‘outdoor refreshment area’ here in Lake Worth:
    • Near the Artists Lofts on the west side of Dixie Hwy.?
    • Following the monthly Critical Mass bike ride in Bryant Park? That way riders wait until after the ride to imbibe.
    • A neighborhood somewhere near the Downtown that wants more attention from the “drive-by” public?
    • Neglected lots or vacant eyesores somewhere on Federal Hwy.? Dixie Hwy.? 

    An event such as this might help draw more Boomers, Millennials, and those of the Hipster variety too. But there’s the risk of attracting more Anarchists from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale as well. A definite downside but a potential upside as well: many of those Anarchists will become Apatharchists over time as many have in Lake Worth already.

    A lot to take into consideration if anyone wants to push this idea forward and “test the waters”, errr, the cold beer in plastic cups I mean.

    Sunday, May 27, 2018

    That unbelievably dumb Letter to the Editor published about Brightline.


    Back in 2015 the rumors, mis- and disinformation about All Aboard Florida (now called Brightline) was at a fever pitch portending doom and gloom and the fall of Western Civilization. This all culminated in December 2015 when the editor at the Post published a letter (see below) that had some people laughing silly, others just incredulous, but mostly readers just wondering how something so ridiculous could make it through the editorial process.


    Can you see the V in the photo below? Are you disturbed by that? Is it affecting your “calmness” in any detectable way?
    The Brightline train station in 2015–early 2016 under construction in West Palm Beach.

    Enjoy this letter that got published in December 2015. Click on image to enlarge:
    Do you think the letter V is “disturbing” and “disrupting the calmness of our state?

    Remember I had a mouthful of coffee which went spewing all over the table when I first saw this letter in the Post. My first thought was how happy the letter wasn’t written by a Lake Worth resident.

    Second thing that came to mind is, “Hey, is that an image of Jesus on my toast?” The letter V is not a logo for Brightline. The image that is “disturbing” to the letter writer is a replica of one of the architectural structure supports that will hold up the train station. 


    Image from 2015 of the proposed Brightline station in West Palm Beach.

    Maybe to quell any public anxiety the architects should have turned the supports upside down to form an A?
    The image inverted. What do you think? Does the A look better or do you prefer the V? Would letter Q have worked? Or J?

    On Memorial Day in the City of Lake Worth join our local members of The American Legion at Pinecrest Cemetery.


    Briefly, some history. The American Legion Vogel-Lee Post #47 was chartered on October 16th, 1919. The first commander was a man named John Prince. The Post name “Vogel-Lee” is in honor of Mr. Vogel, “the first from the area KIA [Killed In Action] in WWI and Mr. Lee was the first from the area KIA in WWII.”

    Are you following the City of Lake Worth on Twitter? Here is news from yesterday:

    Everyone is invited to join Post #47 for the
    Memorial Day ceremony at Pinecrest Cemetery:

    Scout Troop 204 will place flags and crosses on Veteran’s graves and provide the Color Guard salute. Public is encouraged to attend and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of our nation from 10:00 a.m. to noon.


    Pinecrest Cemetery is located at 1724 12th Ave. South. For more information call Richard Smith at 561-582-4616.

    More information courtesy of your LOCAL newspaper, The Lake Worth Herald:


    The American Legion Vogel-Lee Post #47 is located at 2315 N. Dixie Hwy. in the City of Lake Worth. Commander is Herm Apol. All veterans welcome. Regular meetings are on the third Wednesday of the month at 7:00. Next meeting on June 20th.
         Free one year’s membership to new signups. BINGO every Thursday at 6:30; FREE card on your birthday. Dinners every Saturday from 3:00–6:00. Karaoke every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. For more information call 561-582-4616.


    Have an announcement to make to the public?


    “Free listing for service clubs’ and charitable organizations schedules and special events
    open to the public.”
    “Send information to About Town, 1313 Central Terrace, Lake Worth, FL 33460, fax 561-585-5434 or email: lwheraldje@gmail.com”

    “Please keep it brief. We reserve the right to edit and/or reject any announcement deemed not appropriate for this column.”