Friday, August 9, 2019

Official recognition by PAPA.

On March 12th the electorate in the City of Lake Worth voted to rename this municipality as Lake Worth Beach and the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Public Access (PAPA) website has since been updated to reflect the name change (see map below).

However, as newsworthy as Lake Worth Beach is and continues to be, there is a much bigger story happening out west that is largely going unnoticed in Central Palm Beach County and that is the growing dominance of the City of Greenacres, a municipality expanding at a rapid rate.

Click on map to enlarge, note the label “Lake Worth Beach” and annexations further to the west:

Many areas west of LWB (unshaded) will keep a ‘Lake Worth’ mailing address until being annexed by Village of Palm Springs (shaded blue) or Town of Lantana (verdenia red). In both square miles and population the City of Greenacres is expanding rapidly, already exceeding Lake Worth Beach.

Which delves into zip codes. . . Lake Worth Beach has two zip codes, 33460 and a portion of 33461:

What if Lake Worth Beach was all one zip code (33460) including all incorporated areas west of I-95 (shaded blue)?

Front page news this week in the Observer: “Greenacres City Manager Praised and Thanked”.

Support LOCAL journalism and your LOCAL newspaper!

The Coastal/Greenacres Observer is a FREE weekly newspaper published by the Lake Worth Herald Press. To see this week’s front page headlines click on this link.

The Lake Worth Herald Press, headquartered at 1313 Central Terrace in Lake Worth Beach, also publishes the Lake Worth Herald. To contact the editor call 561-585-9387 or send an email to:

Here is the front page news this week, above the fold in the Observer:

Andrea McCue, the roll up the sleeves and get it done City Manager of the City of Greenacres sat through being reviewed by the City Commission Monday night [Aug. 5th]. As it would be, McCue was also filling in for the City Clerk, doing double duty as she faced a performance review.

Comments from the Council contained phrases such as, ‘Professionalism’, ‘exemplary’, ‘City is in good hands’, ‘never disappointed our City from day one’, ‘exceeded expectations’, ‘creative thinker’, ‘came here very qualified and far exceeds all expectations’.

After casting these complementary appraisals of McCue’s performance, Council members thanked her and approved an increase in her salary.

Council members expressed a willingness to keep McCue and would hate to lose her to another municipality.

In other action, the Council unanimously approved changing the name of Leisure Services to Community & Recreation Services, in order to better express what they do.

The department does everything from providing seniors with meals to running youth programs.

and. . .

Council members praised Michele Thompson, Leisure Services Director, or now Community & Recreation Services Director for the success of the programs. Thompson pushed the credit to the “wonderful team” she works with.

To learn more about the City of Greenacres browse their continually-evolving and updated website.

For sake of comparison and scale here in Central Palm Beach County, many of you will be interested to learn that Greenacres exceeds Lake Worth Beach in both area and population size and is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Palm Beach County.

“It ain’t over till it’s over.” —Yogi Berra

Enjoy the video!

Once again, from the oft-cited file, “We all have to keep in mind. . .

. . . there are many new residents in the City of Lake Worth Beach that have no knowledge of things that preceded them.”

Many blog readers have seen this blog post before. Some of you many times. Thank You for visiting once again today and please scroll down.

For everyone else, once every 2–3 months like to remind new and recently new residents why long-time residents don’t get annoyed when they hear PBSO helicopters overhead, especially at night.

Hearing PBSO helicopters was a sign of hope for many people. Things are much different today in this City as Cpt. Baer explained at a Commission meeting earlier this year.

Ten and a half years ago. . .

On August 26th, 2008, then-Mayor Jeff Clemens signed the agreement to begin the process of turning over law enforcement responsibility to PBSO and subsequent disbanding of Lake Worth PD. In response to Cara Jennings (former commissioner, 2006–2010) who supported keeping the LWPD, JoAnn Golden (another former commissioner, 2007–2011) said about the out-of-control crime at the time:

“[W]e have allowed the gangs to get ahead of us.”

Prior to PBSO taking over for the LWPD, crime in the City was so bad a resident actually proposed that LWPD set up checkpoints and vehicle searches on all roads leading into the City.

Listen for yourself:

That never happened. But crime was so bad prior to PBSO taking over many residents and community leaders seriously considered police checkpoints. Now let’s take a stroll down memory lane to 2007:

Check out these crime “Clearance” rates, especially for homicides. . . “but having our own police department was just so charming”. Maybe in a few neighborhoods. But not so much in others.

Oh, and by the way, that PBSO helicopter flying around at night that some people find ‘annoying’ isn
t so annoying in the context of history, is it?

“There’s a rich history here. If you don’t do anything to preserve it, it’s gone.”

Newspaper clipping from The Palm Beach Post, September 3rd, 2003.

Click on images to enlarge: 

The CDC is not to be confused with Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The CDC went defunct many years ago.

“One part of the plan will involve interviewing lifelong residents to compile an oral history of the neighborhood.”

The plan, “[A]ims to boost community pride, improve property values and stave off gentrification.*

“The Osborne neighborhood is one of the target areas for the CDC, a nonprofit organization charged with improving blighted areas of the city.”

*Let’s take on that loaded word. . .

‘Gentrification’ is called a “loaded word” in that it’s used to confuse and frighten the public (learn more about that by clicking on this link).

There is no accepted definition of that word and therefore fuels the “politics of fear” just like another loaded word used to confuse and frighten the public: ‘sanctuary city’.

Whilst on the topic of ‘gentrification’, Joan Oliva became the executive director of the CRA back in January 2008 and she remains the leader of that agency to this day.

And also to this day former members of the CDC criticize the CRA for increasing property values which have steadily risen in this City. Ironically, as cited in the newspaper clipping above, one of the goals of the CDC was to “improve property values” whilst at the same time promising to ‘stave off gentrification’.

Ironic is it not?

The former CDC never accomplished much and not much remains from what they did actually do. However, how much do you know about the $23M NSP2 Grant the CRA received in 2010? Learn more about that below.

Enjoy the video (below) about the CRA’s NSP2 Grant. You’ll recognize more than a few people if you were here in Lake Worth during that time. At one point, if you pay close attention, you’ll see a few campaign yard signs of people you might know, including a current city commissioner. About the video:

This video is one in a series of case study videos intended for NSP grantees and partners interested in learning about how other grantees are successfully implementing NSP. In Lake Worth, FL, the NSP2 consortium has taken a comprehensive approach in their stabilization efforts. Nonprofits and community leaders featured in this video demonstrate the keys to running their NSP program, including homebuyer counseling, home-purchase assistance, and connecting stabilization with broader economic development and revitalization initiatives such as the Cultural Renaissance Program.

Now, about all those people who thought the NSP2 was a bad idea, like former city commissioners who didn’t make the effort to apply for the grant. But the CRA did step up and apply. Here is an excerpt from this blog:

“Both the City and the CRA were eligible to apply for the funds. Leading up to the grant application’s deadline, it became apparent that the City administration (Susan Stanton was the city manager in September 2009) and the City Commission (which included Cara Jennings, JoAnn Golden, and Susan Mulvehill) had demonstrated no interest in assisting the CRA or applying for the grant money itself. Wanting to make sure Lake Worth didn’t miss out on this opportunity to address slum and blight in a big way the CRA went ahead and made the application itself, without any help from the City Commission at the time.”

Want to learn more about Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency? Click on this link.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

La Guía News y WPTV (NBC5): “Autoridades investigan homicidio en Lake Worth Beach”.

To follow La Guía News on Twitter click on this link. To read the following news report in English go to La Guía and use the translate tool:

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — La Oficina del Sheriff del Condado Palm Beach (PBSO por sus siglas en inglés) está investigando lo que parece ser un homicidio, sucedido el miércoles en Lake Worth Beach.

El incidente sucedió a las 5:40 p.m. cuando los agentes recibieron una llamada al número de emergencia, de un negocio en Lake Avenue.

Los agentes arribaron al bloque 1500 de Lake Avenue, y hallaron a un empleado que había recibido impacto de balas. El personal del Departamento de Bomberos e Incendios que acudieron al lugar confirmaron que el empleado había fallecido.

Los detectives de la División de Crímenes Violentos se encuentran en el lugar investigando.

Hasta el momento no hay sospechosos y se desconocen los motivos.

Cualquier persona con información sobre este suceso llamar a Crime Stoppers al 1-800-458-TIPS.

WPTV contribuyó a esta historia.

Two homicides in Lake Worth Beach: PBSO and Crime Stoppers need tips.

The homicide yesterday in LWB is near another unsolved murder from last April off Lake Ave. on South E St. For more information about the murder of Alonzo Recinos Ramirez use this link. If you have any information about either of these two crimes contact Crime Stoppers and become eligible for a reward. That information is at the end of this blog post.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s breaking news report in the Sun Sentinel by reporter Tony Alanez:

A hang-up call to 911 drew sheriff’s deputies to a novelty store in Lake Worth Beach where they found a clerk dying from a gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday.

After the 5:40 p.m. call, the scene in the 1500 block of Lake Avenue was cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape, a CSI motor home arrived, as did detectives from the violent-crimes division of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Stay anonymous and collect a reward:

To learn more about Crime Stoppers in Palm Beach County use this link.

Barefoot Mailman: Newspaper clipping, Lake Worth Herald, March 6th, 2003.

In the caption below it’s described
“Lantana Town Manager Michael Bornstein. . .”

Click on clipping to enlarge:

Of note on April 16th, 2012 Bornstein was hired to be the city manager in the City of Lake Worth which this year became Lake Worth Beach. 

A short time after Bornstein was hired as city manager back in April 2012 to manage this City long-time Palm Beach Post journalist Willie Howard wrote this opening line in a news report,

After six weeks on the job [Bornstein] is cutting through the tension at city hall, bringing a sense of calmness and teamwork to a city commission known for heated debates and red-eye meetings.

Whatever happened to the bells and whistles, pots and pans, bullhorns. . .

. . . protesters chanting slogans, clever signs, colorful papier-mâché costumes, and noisemakers from the dollar store?

The absence of protests here in Lake Worth Beach has the public all over the County asking, “Whatever happened to good ole Lake Worth?”

This little six-square-mile City was once known as ground zero for the protest movement in Palm Beach County. Almost anyone could start a protest for almost any reason. For example, somebody from ‘Food Not Bombs’ upset about development in the Ag Reserve could rally local radical environmentalists (aka, “rads”) and fellow-travelers from places like Ft. Lauderdale and Sarasota, make a few calls to the press and news media, show up outside Lake Worth City Hall one day and . . . Voilà! A protest!

Getting 40–50 supporters to show up and protest used to be the norm here in the City of Lake Worth until about nine years ago.

Below are newspaper clippings, examples of how it used to be, protesters circa 2003–2005 shutting down traffic and climbing up in trees!

It truly is incomprehensible there has not been a protest of any significance in this City since early January to mid-March 2016, over three years ago during that year’s municipal elections. The Election Season in 2017 was quiet. And so was 2018 and 2019 too. What gives?

Sure, there have been a few polite and non-confrontational gatherings at City Hall and at City parks and a couple of well-controlled and well-mannered ‘marches’ from one place to another, but nothing like what happened in Downtown Lake Worth in early 2016.

One reason could be the tradition of protesting, shutting down traffic and protesters climbing up into trees went by the wayside after PBSO took over in 2009. PBSO, one could say, is a bit less tolerant of such activities than the former Lake Worth PD was. No doubt law enforcement improved greatly after PBSO took over but the case can also be made it’s become a whole lot less entertaining.

For example, the former LWPD had their hands full “back in the day” when the news first hit about a structure called the Lucerne in Downtown Lake Worth.

Front page of The Lake Worth Herald
datelined April 10th, 2003.

Click on image to enlarge:

Construction of the Lucerne began in 2003. Despite lawsuits and quite frequent and very creative protests, the structure was completed in 2005.

Now from the archives: Newspaper clippings from The Palm Beach Post and The Lake Worth Herald, protests and protesters circa 2003–2005.

From the Post: An Anarchist suspended from a bamboo tripod being saved by LWPD.

Click on all images to enlarge:

“. . . [W]ho was protesting downtown condominium plans in Lake Worth.” LWPD allowed the protesters a lot of leeway for Free Speech . . . but not when it came to shutting down traffic.

Back then Rodney Romano was the mayor
of Lake Worth.

Clipping from The Lake Worth Herald:

“More than 65 percent of the
condos have been sold.”

Another newspaper clipping from the Post:

“Protester goes out on a limb”: Thankfully our former City horticulturist was trained in
crisis management.

Summertime is always a slow time of year for protesters. Remember, protests are open to the public. So if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to join a protest everyone is welcome to participate. Maybe some time soon the call will go out:

“Hey! Let’s protest like it’s 2016 again!”

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

News from Delray Beach headlined, “Delray continues to lower city tax rate”:

The excerpt below is from journalist Jane Smith at The Coastal Star datelined July 31st:

Delray Beach commissioners have unanimously approved a slight cut in the tax rate, keeping a promise to city property owners to reduce the tax rate for 10 consecutive years.

The July 9 vote capped the total tax rate at $6.86 per $1,000 of taxable value for the financial year that starts Oct. 1.

This marks the seventh consecutive year that Delray Beach is lowering its tax rate.

“I know we are trying to get things done, but I think we can drop the tax rate,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said. “Dropping the rate would make us more attractive to people coming in.” [emphasis added]

Commissioner Adam Frankel agreed. “We will have additional fees from the new hotels opening,” he said to justify his decision.

To read the entire article published in The Coastal Star click on this link.

A back and forth.

From last January at the Lake Worth Beach City Commission is an interesting exchange between Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso and Lake Worth Electric Utility Dir. Ed Liberty.

They discuss the issue of residential solar energy and at one point Amoroso says the City needs to “stop the bleeding”, paying much more for locally-generated solar energy than the cost of energy on the open market.

A little later there is discussion of possible gunshot damage at Electric Utility facilities and what can be done to better fortify and protect these important assets.

Click on play to watch the proceedings for yourself:

Quiz: “How long is the beach in Lake Worth Beach?” And why a “BEACH” on the ocean really does matter.

The answer to the question, “How long is the beach in Lake Worth Beach?” is a little later in this blog post.

Why a “Beach” really does matter:

How many tourists, visitors and investors thought over the years — or maybe many still think to this day — that West Palm Beach has a beach? West Palm Beach likes people to think they have a beach. But they don’t. Imagine the surprise someone packing the family in the car one day to spend the day at the beach in West Palm Beach to discover there is no beach in West Palm Beach. West Palm Beach is not even on the ocean. Really, shouldn’t that be one of the requirements to be called a city with a beach? Imagine a surfing museum in West Palm Beach. Imagine a mural of a beach in West Palm Beach. Imagine a newspaper headquartered in West Palm Beach called the. . . Well. You get the idea.

However, there are many future residents of the City of Lake Worth Beach who do not know West Palm Beach does not have a beach. And with so many new and exciting housing projects on the horizon this City is getting a tremendous amount of attention from Millennials and young professionals that actually want to live in a municipality with a beach.

And to emphasize that point an elected leader in this City said at City Hall about renaming this City as “Lake Worth Beach”:

[I]t’s really interesting when you look at a lot of the names here in Palm Beach County. For example, Royal Palm Beach doesn’t have a beach. However we’ll have to give them credit for being proactive on sea level rise issue because maybe that will catch up with them one day. But Royal Palm Beach doesn’t have a beach. West Palm Beach really doesn’t have a beach.

We have a beach. And if there is one thing that folks that come to Florida are attracted to oftentimes is the word “Beach”. So if you’re visiting Palm Beach County or thinking about Palm Beach County and your kind of looking through all the thirty-nine municipalities and you don’t know any different you might just pass Lake Worth over because the word ‘Beach’ isn’t affixed to our name.

Now as to the question, how long do you think the beach in Lake Worth Beach is?

The answer is below following
a short quiz.

Setting the quiz parameters.

Below is a short video by VisitFlorida of the open coast beaches in the State of Florida. When you add up the total miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, the Straits, and the Gulf of Mexico it totals 825 miles. If you total the northeast, central, and southeast regions of the Atlantic Ocean beaches the total is 362.7 miles of beach.

How many of that 363 miles of Atlantic Coast beach do you think the Lake Worth Beach comprises?

POP QUIZ: Is our BEACH. . .
  1. Two miles long?
  2. 5¼ miles?
  3. 1½ miles?
  4. 0.26 miles (1,280 feet)?
  5. One mile and 98 feet?

STOP HERE. Watch two short videos; think about it.

The answer is 4! 0.26 miles/1,280 feet (approximately).

In other words, 1,280 feet more beach
than West Palm Beach has:

A party at the Lake Worth Beach! Photoshop by the inimitable former City blogger Tom McGow.

For some perspective, Florida’s Atlantic coastal beaches total approximately 363 miles.

But regardless, West Palm Beach still does not have a beach! And never will.

Monday, August 5, 2019

For people who are really, really sick of having their bike stolen (or ‘ganked’ as this crime is called in Britain).

FYI: The blog post below is from June 2016 when the City of Lake Worth, now called Lake Worth Beach, 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. 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.

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 below; this was 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:

‘Sober home’ resident murdered and stuffed into a trash can. Case remains unsolved. Video by PBSO below.

Tyler Etue was found murdered 4 years ago
in City of Lake Worth.

Stay anonymous. No fear of retribution.

Lake Worth Beach: Be eligible for a reward for helping solve crime including cold cases.

Former Palm Beach Post journalist Alexandra Seltzer was the lead on this story after Etue was reported missing and posted this update on Sept. 19th, 2015.

On September 9th, 2015, Tyler Etue was found murdered in the City of Lake Worth. It was this news that shocked a lot of people and had the public wondering what was actually happening in those so-called ‘sober homes’ being bought all over town. The people buying these properties called themselves “investors”.

Then a so-called ‘church’ opened up in our Downtown attracting even more drug addicts promising they could get help here in our City. And then the ‘counseling centers’ and self-described treatment centers opened up in this City known as having a “Key West attitude” as some would call it. A party town.

Desperate families up north thought they were sending their children to a treatment center in a sprawling gated community ‘in Lake Worth’ but in actuality these young people were stuffed into overcrowded single family homes in the City of Lake Worth, a coastal municipality four years ago already overwhelmed with problems.

Too late for people such as Tyler Etue was a public meeting the next year on the evening of Sept. 26th, 2016. The public had had enough of sober homes. What happened at that meeting in this City shook the walls in Tallahassee and got everyone’s attention in the halls of the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama too. For those of you not here at the time click on this link to find out what happened.

Yes. People did come to this City to get help. And yes, many of them did go home in body bags. The murder of Tyler Etue remains unsolved. Somebody knows what happened:

September 2015—While PBSO deputies and detectives handed out information to the public in Lake Worth trying to find a missing person (Tyler Etue) they discovered his body in a trash can. The public is asked to call the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers (800-458-8477) with any information they may have to solve Tyler's murder.

This video is in two parts. One is of the initial investigation and the second concerns the events leading up to the discovery of the body:

That vacant block, a long-time eyesore on N. Dixie Hwy. between Dartmouth and Cornell drives in College Park.

Where is the College Park neighborhood in Lake Worth Beach? Find out below. But first to that vacant eyesore which could be a nice parking lot too like the one across the road, cleaned up and looking nice when it finally catches the eye of a developer with a vision. . .

That prominent eyesore is located in the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) district. It wasn’t always an eyesore. It was once a popular destination for residents and visitors alike, like World Thrift is today here in this City.

Who would have thought when World Thrift opened it would attract so many customers from the Town of Palm Beach and West Palm too?

That empty lot on one of our major thoroughfares entering the City — actually three lots which include 2302, 2314, and 2318 N. Dixie Hwy. — was once a thriving part of this region in Central Palm Beach County, the former Patio Coffee Shop:

Across the street at 2401 N. Dixie Hwy. is where the former Park Avenue BBQ once stood. But that lot is now a parking lot for World Thrift, a very nice parking lot, it’s nicely landscaped and kept clean and tidy. Meanwhile, the 2300 block remains a community eyesore.

Where exactly is College Park?

College Park in the little six-square-mile
City of Lake Worth is,

“Between the Dixie and the Lake, South
of the Palm Beach Canal”:

The “Dixie” is now a major thoroughfare (U.S. 1; Dixie Hwy.), the freshwater “Lake” is now the Intracoastal and “the Palm Beach Canal” is now the C-51 Canal managed by the South Florida Water Management District.

For those of you wondering. . .

Where exactly are the borders of the College Park neighborhood within the greater Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council?

This historic neighborhood in the City extends from Dixie Hwy. east to the Lake Worth Lagoon and north from Wellesley Drive (north side of street) to the C-51 Canal which includes the City’s Spillway Park. The C-51 Canal, by the way, is the historical border between the Lake Worth Beach and our neighbor to the north, West Palm Beach, a municipality without a beach.

Click on image to enlarge:

“The College Park subdivision was created by plats filed between December 1924 and May 1925. Edgewood Realty Co. of West Palm opened the College Park development.”

Back to the CPNA. . .

“Our goal is to protect and improve the neighborhood by building strong relationships among neighbors, our neighborhood merchants, our City government, local law enforcement [PBSO] and other neighborhood associations throughout the City of Lake Worth.”

Why is this neighborhood called College Park?

“Unique to College Park is the naming of each street after prominent American colleges and universities. From Wellesley to Maryland; from Holy Cross to Vanderbilt, and from Carolina to Notre Dame. . .”.

If you have any more questions about the CPNA and the neighborhood College Park click on this link for the official website.