Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Karaoke Favorite: Theme from Love Story

The crowd has been strong Wednesday's at Club A.J.s - Drop by sometime after 9 p.m. and join us for a song or two!

Slideshow: Beach Visit 5 16 08

Click for full screen and speed adjustment to read captions.

From Sara Paddison

“Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” Quotations. “Sara Paddison quotes”. Quotations Online 1 Apr. 2008.

Friday Treat - Classic O'Jays

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Champion Schefflera Tree

Normally, I would just let a matter like this go and not draw more attention to it. However, I received an unsolicited phone call this week from someone who would like to correct the record. He did so with me through a voice mail message which I have preserved in digital format. We also chatted when I returned his call. More on this later in the story.

This all "stems" - sorry - from a day a couple of months ago. In my normal daily routine, walking the dogs around 8:30 a.m., I noticed a crew of tree trimmers in the area. They approached me on the street and asked if I needed work to be done in my yard. After a little thought, I said yes and then we went on to discuss the particulars - what would be cut and the price. I told them to trim a schefflera, a mango tree and a ficus hedge in my backyard. It was well before hurricane season and I had been concerned about doing the work in advance of a storm threat.

I was away for most of the morning to attend a meeting. When I returned, surprisingly the work was finished and they were putting away their equipment. The crew leader came up to me holding a City of Lake Worth Tree Board brochure. He said that while they were working, someone from the "tree board" - his words came to look at the work as it was going on. The crew leader thought that a neighbor of mine had called the City. It did turn out to be a major project and there was a lot of debris from the cutting for which I called the City for a special pick-up. Anyway, the person from the City - it could have been someone from code enforcement, or the tree board or whoever else - looked at the schefflera tree in particular. The trimmers had "hat - racked" the tree and the discussion centered on that. The person from the City handed the crew leader the Tree Board's brochure and said that it what was done was o.k. since it was considered an invasive species and therefore not regulated under the ordinance.

The special pick up came the next day and I didn't hear anything further from the City, until Martin Cybulski called me this week.

A couple of weeks ago, Walter Baker decided to make this (the hat-racking of the schefflera) an issue on one of the local Internet discussion boards. Apparently he noticed it as he was driving through the area, probably on one of his COP rides. He felt compelled to take the following picture of the tree and post a picture from the Tree Board's brochure to show that what I had done was an example of hat-racking.

Here is the picture from the brochure which shows an example of the practice.

Now, Walter and I have been acquaintances for a while through our common friend Jim Stafford. For reasons not particularly clear to me, my relationship with Walter has become strained enough that he is compelled to write 1000+ word single spaced essays in one block paragraphs of all sorts of perceived transgressions. The animosity is also directed at Jim Stafford and has become more so since Jim's announcement that he is running for the District #2 Commission seat. I wish Walter well and would be willing to talk to him about what happened to our relationship - in private - and not on the Internet. But, alas.

Here is a picture of us in happier times coming back from drift boat fishing last May. Walter is second from the left. The fellow on the extreme left is Matt Falvey - expert fisherman and on the right is Jim Stafford and then me.

I was surprised when Martin Cybulski called as we do not talk that frequently. Martin works for the City and is staff to the Tree Board among many other duties caring for growing things in the City. We had many pleasant interactions during my time on the Planning and Zoning Board and have respect for each other. Apparently, someone had contacted him and asked him if he had read the local Internet discussion board where Walter Baker mentions his name. Walter had called him to check the facts on what I was telling him. Reading Walter's posts, one would get the impression that I had somehow lied and/or Martin had called me a liar regarding this incident.

Martin assured me that half of what Walter wrote about he didn't say and that he surely didn't infer that I was a liar. He confirmed that the City is not concerned about what people do to schefflera trees. If anything, they would like them removed, but nothing compels property owners to do so. He then mentioned that this was the second time Walter had done this - this scenario has happened before? Now, I do have his voice mail message digitally recorded. I choose not to post it here or make it available for distribution. I will only play it with Martin's permission.

So, such is the power of the Internet. Many people have come up to me as I go out and about and ask about my tree. They also ask what I could have done to Walter that would merit such an attack.

I took a picture of the tree today and it is bouncing back from the trimming. I will probably take it down soon, which is encouraged for any invasive tree. For now it stands.

Story from the City re: Utility Plant Incident Yesterday

For about 20 minutes yesterday a loud noise was heard and a large plume of steam was released from the City's power plant. The following is an e-mail from Laura Hannah, Assistant City Manager, regarding what happened.

Regarding the plant, here’s what transpired: a high pressure steam water line in the City’s steam generator broke releasing a plume of steam into the air. Public Works called the FD as a precautionary measure. No one was hurt by the steam leak (high pressure lines break from time-to-time even though staff constantly monitors them).

Laura J. Hannah
Assistant City Manager
City of Lake Worth

Bamboo Room to close for summer, perhaps longer.

Click title for PB Post article. This is one of our true "destinations" in our downtown and it would be a shame to have it go dark. That is an understatement. Reading the article, it seems that transportation cost increases are making it more difficult for groups to make the trip to South Florida. Also cited as a cause is people choosing not to go out as much, which makes sense in challenging economic times.

The positive take from this article is that it's not due to anything intrinsic to our downtown - like the typical lack of parking complaint, etc.

Let's hope that this is just a temporary closing and they will be back later in the year. Click here for the Bamboo Room website.

The following YouTube video is Laura Reed & Deep Pocket @ Bamboo Room, 4-18-08. Recorded by Adam @ Cheeseheadproductions.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time to get fired up...

This is then Governor of New York Mario Cuomo's address to the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco. It's referred to as his "Tale of Two Cities" speech. I remember hearing it at the time and thought that it was one of the more inspirational speeches I had heard. It still is. Unfortunately, it could be given today and it would still apply - only more so after too many years of the same policies which Reagan championed.

While not the entire speech, you do catch the overall thrust. For a complete transcript, click here.

Venus at 10 weeks old...

She's now seven. This was taken at her "Puppy Shower" in 2001.

Crime Report for April - Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association

Joel Morganstern, Community Liaison Officer

• 3 armed robberies. 400 Block 6th Ave South, 1st Block South J, Lake Ave.

• 14 Assaults, 9 were from either Dixie, Lake, or Federal

• 4 residential burglaries: South J, South K, 500 Block 6th Ave South, 500 Block South Federal.

• 8 Narcotics arrests: 8 of 8 were on Lake, Dixie, or Federal

• 2 vehicle burglaries.

• 2 stolen vehicles: Lucerne & North J

* To give you an idea of crime in other Lake Worth neighborhoods, Vehicle burglaries: 15 burglaries – 14 were unlocked, and the one that wasn't had a laptop on the front seat.

Of the 5 residential burglaries: 3 were unlocked, one had no sign of forced entry.

Paul Chafin Memorial and Jazz Celebration, this Sunday at Bryant Park Bandshell

Paul Chafin Memorial and Jazz Celebration

Sunday, May 18th at Bryant Park Bandshell

12 to 6 pm

Come celebrate Paul's legacy and his love for Jazz!

Featuring National Recording Artists:

Copeland Davis

Patti Wicks

Jim McCreavy

Dolph Castellano

Palm Beach Community College Tuesday Nite Big Band

Chafin Music Center All-Stars

and Many More!!!

BBQ chicken dinner and refreshments available

All Proceeds and donations go directly to the Paul Chafin Scholarship Fund

for local high school musicians and PBCC Programs.

Call Chafin Music Center for more info


Bryant Park Neighborhood Association

Utility Drive-thru Payment Window Closes Today!

Sign at the Utility customer service area in the City Hall annex says that the window is closing. You have until end of business today to use the window - tomorrow will be too late.

And, of course, an important announcement like this merits no "Tropic Mail" or statement on the City's website. Can we please get in the habit of announcing things like this?

Wouldn't it be great to eliminate these parking spaces and replace them with bike racks and a lawn area!

Global Incident Map

When you click on the web site link below, a world map comes up showing what strange and dangerous things are happening right now in every country around the entire world. It is updated every few minutes. You can move the map around, zero in on any one area and "mouse over" the various incidents for more information. There is also a scrolling list of the events.

Global Incident Map: There is a lot happening in our world every minute. This "map" updates every 300 seconds...constantly 24/7.

WARNING: Not for those prone to paranoia or panic attacks.

Imagine if the City of Lake Worth had this kind of real time information available in a map format! It might not be a good idea to have active police incidents indicated on the map of the City. But how about zoning applications, historic districts and structures, crime statistics per area, neighborhood associations and contact information, etc. Maybe one day...

Click here.

Examples of Urban Planning - Chinese Style

Beijing Urban Planning Museum

Birds Nest Olympic Stadium

Shanghai Urban Planning Museum

Architects of the Bird's Nest

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our Neighbor to the North...

I happened to be caught by the drawbridge in February and these photos have been nestled in my hard drive since then. Coming back from some work in the Town of Palm Beach, this turned out to be a good opportunity to get some shots of the downtown West Palm Beach skyline - which they rightly can claim they actually have. The view above is looking towards the southwest, along with the west side of Lake Worth - or the Intracoastal Waterway.

Not sure if you know this or not, but when I moved down to Florida in 1989 from Michigan, I worked for the City of West Palm Beach as an Associate Planner. Even though having limited experience in transportation planning, I was annointed the transportation planner at a time when the City was finishing up its Comprehensive Plan, in response to the 1985 Growth Management Act and according to Administrative Rule 9J-5

It was a good place to work just to get an orientation of what south Florida was all about - professionally, personally and otherwise. I happened to come from a very dynamic and active downtown environment - living in and working for the City of East Lansing, Michigan. When I started in West Palm Beach, the downtown could easily be described as a ghost town - complete with the Florida variety of tumbleweeds making their way down Clematis Street. This was a time when there was not the strong Mayor form of government. That made its way into the administrative structure of the City a little before the time I left. This was when Ron Schutta - someone with a singular and strong civil engineering focus - was the City Manager. I think the late Pat Pepper was Mayor when I started with the City. West Palm Beach had a Commission- Manager form of government similar to what we have in the City of Lake Worth now.

The above picture is looking a little more west, just south of the north bridge. You can see the signature silhouette of the "Darth Vader" building at the extreme right hand side of the picture


Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach County - Charrette

Last Friday, May 9th - Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) held a Charrette on the future of the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach County. This event was held at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Unfortunately, I had a conflicting professional engagement and was unable to attend. However, I thought you might be interested in the Power Point presentations that were made that day. There is some interesting data contained within the various presentations.

Please go to the TCRPC website where you will be able to find a .pdf file of this presentation and download it for yourself. Or, you can click on the above frame and go to a full screen slide show of the presentations. Be sure to slow down the presentation speed in the viewer so that you have time to view the various slides that come two-to-a-page. You can also pause the slide show in order to study the frames in greater detail. These controls are found at the bottom of the area where the slides appear.

I know that some people from Lake Worth planned on attending this charrette. Perhaps upon reading this post, they could amplify what was presented on Friday. We all are aware of the critical importance the Lake Worth Lagoon and the Intracoastal Waterway means as it relates to the City of Lake Worth's future.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eagle Cam

This link will take you to a site that has a live camera focused on an Eagle's nest in Norfolk, Virginia. A friend of mine told me about it yesterday. Some of the recorded scenes might be more at home on afternoon soap operas - such as the attempt to take over the nest by another female. If you watch a while, you will be able to see the young eaglet in the nest. (Added later: I saw the eaglet being fed a couple times today.)

Here is a link to a local news segment called "As the Nest Turns".

There was a nesting pair found during the development of the Tesoro residential community in Port St. Lucie, but the little ones have left the nest. Here is the link to that cam, which is still operational. The site is run by the Audubon of Florida.