Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) in wartime and peacetime.

Henry Flagler’s trains on the Florida East Coast (FEC) railway served the United States in World War I
when war was declared.

In World War II and the Korean War
there were the planes as well. . .

Click on this link to read about the history of PBI. An absolutely fascinating read about other airports as well here in Palm Beach County.

An excerpt:

The outbreak of World War II in Europe caused the United States to quietly begin a massive defense build-up. In November 1940, the U.S. Army Air Corps began converting Morrison Field for military purposes and activated it for military use in 1941. Scheduled commercial service and private planes were relocated to the new Lantana Airport, six miles south. A month after Pearl Harbor, when the allied nations built up forces to invade France, Morrison Field processed 6,200 planes and 45,000 fliers. Many of them took off from Morrison Field for the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Flolfie Alert: He may be carrying β-Methylamino-ʟ-alanine (BMAA).

It is highly likely Flolfie is here in Lake Worth Beach right now getting prepared for the July 4th Great American Raft Parade and Raft Race. He likes to hang out at the Cultural Plaza in the Downtown. He used to hang out at Artsy Fartsy Décor & More too but Artsy Fartsy went out of business last year.

Flolfie is easy to spot!

Below is a video of Flolfie in action. He is cheery and charming a lot. But don’t let that fool you.

If you spot Flolfie please contact someone at the Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Assoc. (DJNA) as soon as you can.

Flolfie’s roots are in the Treasure Coast. So he is used to causing trouble and getting the public all worked up about plagues, plaguing, plaguers, plaguees and getting plagued a few times himself.

Flolfie is most active in late March through July. It’s generally after the July 4th Great All-American Raft Race when he skips out of town back up to Martin County.

Flolfie will try to sabotage events. Word is Flolfie has given up on buckets of blue-green blobs of slime plague. And seawater with red tide plague is unavailable at the moment. But what Flolfie may have is plastic bottles of BMAA plague.

Please watch the video below very closely. This is Flolfie with buckets of plague, this is blue-green algae slime and was used to sabotage the Annual Raft race in 2016.

Without further ado, here is Flolfie in Bryant Park dropping blue-green plague into the Intracoastal:

Friday, May 3, 2019

May 3rd, 2011: Open letter of resignation submitted to the residents of Lake Worth by Mayor René Varela.

May 2011 was a major turning point for the City of Lake Worth. The political upheaval eight years ago would later usher in a long period of political stability for a City known for instability and political squabbling.

What happened in May 2011 set up what was to happen in November of that year: Into the political arena came a woman named Pam Triolo and a man named Andy Amoroso.

Few around at the time could have imagined how significant Mayor Varela’s sudden resignation would become (see resignation letter below).

Briefly, in January of 2011 Varela gave a stirring State of the City Address and promised to “push through” into the November elections. This occurred prior to all hell breaking loose. A controversial study commissioned by the former city manager outlining how this City could reconstitute its police department was about to become public but the public in this City had already rallied to the side of keeping PBSO in a very big way.

With Varela’s resignation Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill became the acting mayor with the remaining electeds being Scott Maxwell, JoAnn Golden, and Chris McVoy, PhD. The only one left standing is Maxwell who was re-elected, again, to a three-year term last March.

Mayor Varela always tried his best to avoid controversy and when his wife took a job in Washington, D.C. that was one of the reasons why he decided to resign as mayor. Later that year, out of a crowded field came Rachel Waterman who won the Special Election in July of 2011. The burning controversy in that election was ¢25 ice cream cones at the beach. Somehow, some way the Lake Worth City Commission would require all businesses and leases to include ice cream cones for a quarter in perpetuity.

In November 2011 Pam Triolo narrowly defeated Waterman to become the mayor of Lake Worth and Andy Amoroso was elected in District 3 over JoAnn Golden (Amoroso received 60% of the vote). They both joined District 1 Scott Maxwell who was re-elected in 2009 (Maxwell’s first term was in 2001–2003). Shortly after the November elections Susan Stanton was fired as the city manager in Lake Worth and then in April of 2012 the former town manager in Lantana was hired to manage this City: his name was and is Michael Bornstein.

In 2013 Triolo, Maxwell and Amoroso were all re-elected. Also in 2013 was a referendum moving our municipal elections from November back to March. In 2016 these three electeds were all re-elected and they were all re-elected again in 2018.

In March 2017 Messrs. Omari Hardy and Herman Robinson won the seats in Districts 2 and 4 respectively and both were re-elected this year. Also in 2017 a referendum passed increasing terms for elected officials from two to three years.

Late last year PBSO and the City of Lake Worth honored their ten year partnership.

So on May 3rd, 2011 Lake Worth Mayor René Varela announced his resignation to the public.

And eight years later it’s worth noting how significant this political event has become in retrospect here in the City of Lake Worth Beach. . .

Click on images to enlarge,
the letter from “Office of the Mayor”:

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Press release from Publix, 2011: “Grand Opening of Publix at Lake Worth”.

The press release from Publix is below, another recent milestone in Lake Worth Beach.

And please note that Mr. Tom McGow (nom de plume, Mr. McFixit), still has a blog about the City of Lake Worth and Tom chronicled many of the goings on about Publix from 2009–2010 in blog posts titled, No Longer Publix Enemy #1, Publix Comments, For The Publix Good, The Publix Perception, and later Publix Works.

Tom had a special way of stirring up the public and then Publix came to town a year later, in 2011. At the end of this blog post today learn more about our treasured public Publix and more about Tom McGow too who suddenly passed away last year.

Our Publix still works for us in Lake Worth Beach,

The City of Lake Worth was very fortunate to gain a Publix. April 28th marked the eighth anniversary of Publix in this City. 

Here is the press release from Publix announcing
the ribbon cutting eight years ago:

LAKE WORTH, Fla., (April 19, 2011) — On Thursday, April 28, 2011, 8 a.m., the Publix at Lake Worth will begin serving customers. To kick-off the celebration, Publix will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. at the store’s front doors. Publix officials, members of the City Council, Lake Worth CRA and Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce are expected to be in attendance.

In addition to the traditional grocery, meat, produce, dairy and frozen food departments, the 28,000 square-foot store will feature the following full-service departments: bakery, deli, floral and fresh seafood as well as a Publix Pharmacy. Approximately 100 Publix associates will be employed at the new store.

The store’s art deco façade is reminiscent of some of the original Publix Super Markets which includes neon lighting and signage.

“The grand opening of this store has been long anticipated,” said Kim Jaeger, Publix Miami media and community relations manager. “We are excited to be a pedestrian friendly super market in the heart of such a vibrant downtown community. The art-deco façade of the store reflects Lake Worth’s vibrancy and culture.”

The first 1,500 customers on grand opening day will receive a free Publix reusable bag.

Publix is privately owned and operated by its 147,500 employees, with 2010 sales of $25.1 billion. Currently Publix has 1,034 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. The company has been named one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” for 14 consecutive years. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized as tops in the grocery business, most recently by an American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. For more information, visit the company’s website,  ###

Ever had a sandwich from the Publix deli in LWB? They are delicious!

Scenario: If lunch, brunch or dinner is coming up and you want to order something from the deli make your order online, go pick it up and then proceed to the fast check-out aisle.

Why not try it yourself: Click on this link and you can save your favorite orders, your order history, and view your current order as well which will have the pick-up time. If you get there too early browse the store and pick up other items you may need later on.

About Mr. Tom McGow and Mr. McFixit too.

Tom passed away last year but in passing he left us all a lot of humor, a treasure trove of information and Lake Worth history as well. From 2008–2011 Tom entertained the public and oftentimes skewered public officials with “Tom’s Page”.

Feel like having some fun today? Go and
“McFixit by McGow”.

Here’s how. In the right-hand column of Tom’s blog scroll down and look for the McFixit Handyman Service (which is also called the Search Bar) and type in the name Publix to learn more about what happened 9–10 years ago or type in other things that may interest you by clicking on this link for Tom’s Page.

And for a Lake Worth tribute to Tom from 2018 use this link. Something tells me Tom would be very pleased with Lake Worth Beach in 2019, we’re not there yet but still working hard and Tom was one person who helped lead the way.

“We take a look back at the road that created Florida”, Post reporter Barbara Marshall wrote.

“100 years ago, Dixie Highway began winding through Palm Beach County, spawning today’s tourism industry.”

Dixie Highway is a historic highway in Lake Worth Beach.

Click on image to enlarge:

Does this lot look familiar? This is now the Gonz Auto Collision Center at 1401 N. Dixie Hwy.

And here is Gonz in the modern era getting with
the theme Lake Worth Beach!

Here is The Hulk in a Gonz Auto Club Car! Gonz has a newly updated website including new services.

Now back to the origin of Dixie Hwy.

Barbara Marshall at The Palm Beach Post published an article about the origins of Dixie Hwy. back in early 2016. It is easy to forget that the development of Florida is a relatively recent phenomenon. First came the trains, ushered in by Henry Flagler on the east coast and Henry Plant on the west coast of Florida. With the advent and mass production of the automobile in the early part of the 20th century the burgeoning middle class needed more and more roads for travel and leisure. That was the genesis of Dixie Hwy. — what we know as U.S. 1 — that goes right through the center of this City. The article details some of the old routes that made up the original road and where you can find other sections in Palm Beach County.

It’s true. Once upon a time this City had its
very own Chamber of Commerce.

This sign was at the corner of Dixie Hwy. and
Lake Ave., outside City Hall:

Further up north on Dixie Hwy. ‘back in the day’ was a popular restaurant called Christine’s. The structure survived. Its now called the Blue Front BBQ, an excellent example of roadside architecture from the Mom & Pop era when motels, small businesses, and restaurants lined Dixie Hwy.

Dixie Hwy. meant opportunity for the communities that lined it. Lake Worth took advantage of that by having many motels, restaurants and attractions (including signs over the highway pointing travelers to the Beach, the Casino building, and the Gulfstream Hotel), all in the hopes of snagging dollars from tourists and create a local economy that could sustain the resident population. As you have read on this blog many, many times before, all that changed as the main source of vehicle travel switched to I-95 in the 1970s. Since then Lake Worth, and other cities to a lesser extent, have been trying to re-carve its niche in the “new” economy of the 21st century.

There are very few communities that celebrate their old historic roads that continue to exist and how crucial they were to early development. As a redevelopment effort and focus this City could consider designating a portion of the road as a Historic Highway. This might help attract tourists and visitors, classic car enthusiasts, history “buffs” and others just as Route 66 and now U.S. 27 in the State of Michigan are historic attractions.

The Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency (TPA), to name one organization, could be the catalyst for this type of redevelopment and marketing effort. It has worked in other locations and we are already an attractive tourist destination. This would be another way to put us “on the map”.

Click on this link for a documentary about Route 66 and the Iconography of the American Highway.

Hope you enjoy the video:

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Lake Worth, FL, Then and Now — Evelyn’s Apartment Court: 709 South Dixie Hwy.

Image circa 1960.
The same address via Google Maps Street view.

When I first moved to Lake Worth, I lived at 714 South ‘H’ Street which is just behind, to the left, of this motel. These motels were common back in the day and lined much of Dixie Hwy. through Lake Worth. Typically “Mom and Pop” operations, they served middle class tourists driving down U.S. 1, which was the primary route through South Florida traveling by automobile.

Each motel was unique in its own way to attract tourists and visitors: ornate signs, colorful entrances, and welcoming landscape.

There are a few that still survive but most have gone through a multitude of changes. One way was to accommodate more vehicles with the addition of pavement instead of the lawn area during the middle part of the last century.

When non-local, long distance traffic moved to the then-newly constructed I-95 in the early 1970s many of these motels were demolished and became some of the used car lots we see today along this stretch of road. In many ways the City is still adjusting to this shift of traffic from what used to be the only road through South Florida.

Some old-timers think the City of Lake Worth has never fully recovered from the effect I-95 had on the City and I think there is some truth to that.

However, there are some notable survivors of what is called “highway architecture”, the Blue Front BBQ, which was the former “Kristine’s”, is one of them here in Lake Worth Beach.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Landmarks of Lake Worth Beach: “A Walking Tour” with Sharon Koskoff.

Koskoff is president of the Art Deco Society of
the Palm Beaches (ADSPB).

On Saturday, May 4th at 9:45 a.m., meet at the Lake Worth Playhouse located at 713 Lake Ave. The tour will begin promptly at 10:00. The cost is $18 in advance and $23 on the day of the walking tour.

And Koskoff has a few tips for the tour attendees:

Wear your walking shoes, sun tan lotion, and a hat!
     Visit the Lake Worth Playhouse, the Cultural Council Art Gallery, the Museum of the City of Lake Worth, public murals and art galleries.
     Refreshments will be served. Learn about the history of Art Deco and see the Streamline Moderne Buildings of Lake Worth Beach.

Optional is lunch afterwards at Brogue’s Downunder (621 Lake Ave.) where one can buy your own meal or appetizer and continue learning more about art deco architecture in the downtown.

To purchase tickets and for more information contact president Sharon Koskoff of the ADSPB at 561-699-7899 or visit the society’s website.

Koskoff ’s walking tours are a big hit
so make sure to get your ticket(s) early.

Lake Worth history in Lake Worth Beach, the former Oakley Theatre first opened in 1924.
Click on this link for more about the history of the Lake Worth Playhouse.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A truly inspiring story for Lake Worth Beach and Lake Worth metro area.

Worth Noting: The annual FREE hurricane preparedness seminar hosted by WPBF meteorologist Mike Lyons will be next month. The location, time and other details have yet to be announced.

It was Item 5E at Lake Worth City Commission on Tuesday, February 5th: A proclamation for Kevin Addison and Sam Hamilton.

Despite what you may have heard, some truly wonderful things happen every now and then at Lake Worth City Hall now called Lake Worth Beach City Hall.

Following the YouTube video (see below) is the background on what happened on February 5th. Following that video is the background on this long-untold story.

Both meteorologist Mike Lyons at WPBF and editor Mark Easton at The Lake Worth Herald were duly noted for their volunteer efforts getting the word out about hurricane preparedness.

This presentation lasted ≈ six minutes, another presentation follows, then Commission liaison reports and public comment. After public comment you can continue watching the rest of this meeting if you wish, but would strongly advise against doing that.

Enjoy this truly wonderful proclamation:

Here is the background.

June 1st is fast approaching. How many of you reading this blog post today are thinking about hurricane preparedness? But many of you will be soon enough.

By the way, just about 1½ years ago, on September 17th, 2017 at 1700 hours the Lake Worth Electric Utility (LWEU) fully restored power to this City following Hurricane Irma. Do you remember Irma? At the end of this blog post is a short reminder, a video produced by LWEU following that massive hurricane.

But thanks to Messrs. Kevin Addison and Sam Hamilton in mid-May every year the public will be reminded about what June 1st is: The official start of the 2019 Hurricane Season.

Every May in this City Messrs. Addison and Hamilton along with meteorologist Mike Lyons from WPBF (ABC25) hold an annual FREE seminar at The Beach Club located at the City’s municipal golf course, #1 7th Ave. North.

Rainy Season officially begins on May 15th. Stay tuned for the date of this year’s annual FREE hurricane preparedness seminar usually held the second or third week in May. Then shortly thereafter at the end of May is the City’s annual Vegetation Amnesty Week.*

This FREE seminar held annually is sponsored by the City and The Lake Worth Herald and this event will include public service agencies, hurricane industry professionals and many other experts.

Now to Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

Have you ever wondered why so little was ever reported in The Palm Beach Post about what happened during that terrible storm? Find out why a little later on.

The video produced (see below) with very Hipster music is of LWEU reporting about the “power restoration recap” following Irma. Assistant Dir. Walt Gill is featured along with other officials and linemen including those from out of town brought in to help get all the power restored in this City, areas in the Village of Palm Springs on LWEU and metro Lake Worth area too, e.g., Palm Beach State College and John Prince Park.

Very little about what happened prior to, during, or post-Irma in this City was ever reported in the Post. However, a few days after the storms had passed and electric power was fully restored, City Manager Michael Bornstein was forced to publicly respond to an “egregious” story in the Post by a beat reporter who “took a crack at us.”

Prior to Irma, just a few days before the high winds and storms arrived, a whole lot of people working at the Post hauled ass out of town and that’s why there was so little news reporting about what happened in this City in 2017 during Irma. But not everyone scooted out of town. Post reporter Joe Capozzi, a City of Lake Worth resident, hunkered in place and helped the City get information out to the public on Twitter.

And also thanks to the City! Because of all their hard work getting information out to the public about what actually occurred, that information did get chronicled for posterity. Despite not being reported in the Post.

September 17th, 2017 at 1700: “100% of
reported outages restored!”

Enjoy the video!