Saturday, June 7, 2008

St. Lucie planners consider hiring consultant on turbines

Up-coming City Commission Meetings - Volunteer Board Appointments

The meetings are scheduled for this coming Wednesday and Thursday. I applied for a position on the CRA.

This post is for my Father...

He reads this blog regularly and happens to collect Packard cars and has for years. I found these digging through You Tube and I thought he would be surprised by reading this. He is a noted historian of the marque.

There is also a "father and son" reference in this so I couldn't resist.

This is from a company film regarding quality control. The year is 1954. Packards would be made in Detroit until 1956. Production shifted to South Bend, Indiana as a result of Packard's ill-fated merger with Studebaker. 1957 and 1958 "Packards" were on Studebaker bodies. Production of Packards was halted completely after the 1958 model year.

Packard was one of the last independent automakers to succumb to the competitive pressures of the industry - courtesy of the Big 3, including GM of course. A preservation effort was launched related to the Proving Grounds that are featured in these clips. Most of the older Packard manufacturing plant in Detroit is still standing and vacant - waiting for some sort of redevelopment attempt (many have come and gone). If you want to wade through You Tube yourself, there are a couple of self-guided tours of the plant as it stands now. I am not posting them here, as they are a little off-topic and the language used could be referred to as "street", and that is a charitable assessment.

Anyway, I hope you find this of interest.

From the GM Propaganda Machine...

Grand jury chides lawmaker for 'pay to play' advice

Friday, June 6, 2008

Interesting Exercise

Click on the title for a link to "Arizona Stories". A photographer has researched a series of historic photos. Based on the exact location where the earlier photos were taken, he takes a photo of how the area appears in the 21st Century. Really a lesson is the impermanence of the built environment and the change that engulfs our existence here on planet Earth. Given a little time and effort, we could attempt the same sort of project here. Perhaps for our Centennial?

Another little improvement...

If you look to the right, I added a slideshow that will load automatically when the blog loads. It includes all of my collection of historic Lake Worth images. These are from both pictures and post cards. Let me know if any jiggle a memory or two and we can talk about them here. Also, if you have any that you don't see here, let me know. I'd like the opportunity to scan them and include them here.

Also, if the changing slides distract your attention, mouse over the frame and you can pause the slideshow by a click on the "II" button.

Thanks for visiting and enjoy!

Spaghetti Dinner Fund Raiser for PAL Warriors - 6/25

Community Back to School Bash

Landfill deal leaving bad taste and stench - LW

Click title for PB Post article. This story was on the front page today.

Friday Treat - Paul McCartney post-Beatles - Uncle Albert

Sir Paul McCartney is a "pop" genius. You will probably curse me all day long cause you won't be able to get this song out of your head. It could easily have been at home on Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road and is often mistakenly thought to be a real Beatles tune. Off his solo album "Ram" from 1971, the transitions are amazing and it's almost like two or three separate songs - all with nonsensical haunting lyrics and a bouncing beat. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vermin Infested South E Street Home - Tented

Click title for latest Channel 12 Video.

Lake Worth Talk is Back On-line and Other News

Click title for link. Jim Stafford was able to strike a deal with the company that hosted the board. This made it possible for him to turn the board back on. Check it out. There is also a permanent link in the right-hand column of this blog.

You may also have noticed some slight improvements to this blog. I was finally able to get rid of the goobledy-gook at the end of each post, eliminating the white space and blending it in with the background. Now the only thing you see at the end of the post is the comment tab, which I encourage you to use.

Also, in the right-hand column, I posted a permanent picture of Mars and Venus - they can keep you company when you're visiting here. (But be careful if you place food near your monitor - they might reach out and grab it!)

Right below that I have posted my email address. All you need to do is copy and paste that in the "To:" line of your e-mail account if you would like to contact me that way.

I have also made it so 100 of the most recent posts are included on the page that loads when you come to the blog. You might notice a change in the time it takes to load the page. If it's too long, let me know and I will make an adjustment.

Usage has been consistently high for the past three or four weeks. Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you get a lot out of your visits here. I've noticed many people have been digging deep into the almost 800 posts on the blog. So, enjoy!

13 buildings to be demolished at notorious Dunbar Village (WPB)

Click title for link to PB Post article.

Celebrating the Grand Re-Opening of our Pool - Esther Williams Style!

Citizen Committees Come Together

Source: UtalkNews
Citizen Committees Come Together from the Tri-County Area

6/4/2008 2:00:25 PM

DATE: June 4, 2008
CONTACT: Lahoma Scarlette
PHONE: 954-357-7810

The citizen advisory committees of the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are holding their annual meeting to learn about transportation projects that will have a regional impact. The MPOs are the agencies responsible for their respective transportation planning process.

Various transportation agencies in the region will be presenting major projects that cross all three county boundaries, giving the committees and the audience a chance to make comments and ask questions about them. Citizens are encouraged to attend and participate.

Who: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organizations� (MPO) Citizen Advisory Committees

What: The MPOs� Citizen Advisory Committees are inviting residents in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach to a meeting discussing the current and future transportation plans that transcend the tri-County area.

When: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 4 p.m.

Where: South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) Administrative Offices � Board Room, 800 N.W. 33rd Street, Suite 100, Pompano Beach, FL 33064

Why: To encourage citizens to become familiar and get involved with the transportation planning process.

If you would like more information regarding the meeting, please call the Broward MPO at (954) 357-6608.

Lake Worth pool celebrates renovations this weekend, public swims free

Click title for PB Post article.

Uncontrolled Immigration Impact on Healthcare...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Another Kind of Historic Preservation...

Exclusive: 'Miss Belvedere' One Year Later - From Old Cars Weekly
June 03, 2008
by Photos by Dwight Foster

When Catherine Johnson, 93, and Levada Carney, 88, claimed their 1957 Plymouth Belvedere late last year, there was no question that the sisters were in much better shape than the 50-year-old car.

The two women “inherited” the car as the result of a contest entered by their late brother Raymond Humbertson back in the summer of 1957. Humbertson never lived in Tulsa, and how he came to enter the contest is just one of the mysteries surrounding the car. But his guess at the city’s 2007 population came the closest of those retrieved from the time capsule that was buried with the car beneath the Tulsa County Courthouse lawn.

After spending nearly 50 years quietly rusting away, the ’57 Plymouth, affectionately known as “Miss Belvedere,” is now in the process of being stabilized so that her transformation can finally begin.

To date, only the front passenger-side fender and a handful of parts have been test cleaned to ensure that the car will be able to survive the stabilization process.

After two days of days of continuous re-circulation of the Safestrustremover product was able to clear the targeted area on the car's front fender, removing the heavy rust.

“Things are looking encouraging,” said Dwight Foster, owner the Ultra One Corporation that has been entrusted with the painstaking process of stabilizing and cleaning up “Miss Belvedere” using their Safest Rust Remover line of products. “We have no intention of restoring the car. Our goal is to stabilize it and replace only what we have to so that people can see the car for what it is.”

Despite hopes that the Plymouth Belvedere would be ready in time to make the journey back to Tulsa later this month, one year from the day the car was unearthed, Foster says that simply won’t be possible.

“When we cleaned the instrument cluster we learned that the car only has four miles on the odometer. However, despite the low miles, sitting under water all those years took a toll on the car,” Foster said. “The frame is rotted clear through in numerous places, the motor was caked in clay that set up almost like concrete, and from the doors back in some places the body is so thin that you can easily push your fingers through it.”

The interior of 'Miss Belvedere' as it appeared upon removal from the time capsule.

The odometer and a portion of the dash following rust removal cleansing process.

Despite the deterioration, the car’s new owners and those involved in the stabilization process still believe that the car will one day run. But nearly everyone involved will readily admit that it is doubtful that “Miss Belvedere” will ever be able to cruise the highways under her own power.

Drive-side valve cover after soaking in the Safestrustremover.

In order to make that happen, a donor car was purchased recently from North Carolina.

However, in order to preserve the integrity of “Miss Belvedere,” the car’s owners intend to only use what is absolutely necessary in order to make it possible to roll and steer the car.

“We will tear the original motor down and hope to get it running. We’ll use the frame off of the donor car to help stabilize the body and we will replace the rear valance panel from beneath the tail lights and a few other panels as needed.”

Left side engine bank without valve cover.

The trunk lid will also have to be rebuilt using the “skin” from the original car and the bracing from the donor car to repair the damage that was done when it was pried open to allow access to the items that had been placed in the trunk when it was buried.

Viewed for the first time publicly since the car was buried, the car's VIN tag has been found.

As the layers of rust are slowly cleared away, the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that has truly become one of the most famous “finned” Mopars in the world will continue to reveal answers to many of the “mysteries” that have surrounded the car.

However, a single package that was handed to Foster the day that “Miss Belvedere” left Tulsa may shed some light on this incredible car and the saga it has created.

The package contains a single item that has been passed from father to son and has only been seen publicly once before…the very night the car was buried.

Be sure to check out the next issue of the Old Cars Weekly enewsletter to learn what this mysterious package contains.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Old Cars Weekly enewsletter.

The right rear frame rail clearly shows the extensive damage to the frame of the car.

Pool Grand Re-opening

Official City Announcement of Pool Re-Opening: Saturday June 7 is the official Grand Opening of the Lake Worth Municipal Pool which sports a totally new look. Remarks and a ribbon cutting will be held at 11:00, but everyone is invited to visit and enjoy the pool starting at 9:00. There are no admission fees on Saturday or Sunday (June 7 and June 8). The Coralytes Synchronized Swim Team will perform at 1:00. Join the City in a fun time of music, refreshments, plus games and races for the children.

431 N. L. Street - City, please try again:

This is a letter sent to the Mayor today by Mr. McGow after the crew came by to secure the building. The building is still essentially unsecured. Apparently, the crew had plywood in the back of the truck, but was told not to use it as it was "too expensive". The neighbor cites how the City should secure the building according to its own Code.

This historic building is in serious jeopardy and to see how little the City cares is distressing, to say the least. Darrin Engle made a big point regarding the need to properly "mothball" the building so that further deterioration did not occur. Can the City please find a way to do this job properly?

Photos taken today illustrate the current condition of the property after the crew had finished “securing” the building:

Unanswered questions...

I just drove by City Hall and the electronic signs say that there is a Pool Grand Opening ceremony with remarks is scheduled for 11 p.m. this Saturday. It also says that fees for the pool will be waived all day Saturday and Sunday.

These are all good things. However, this needs to be a community-wide celebration. It also needs to be organized according to established procedures and laws. Below is a copy of my correspondence with Laura Hannah from this morning:

So, we know that there was a committee for this. Some questions:
  • Was the committee made up of members of the Recreation Board?
  • If not, was the committee duly appointed by action of the City Commission?
  • If not, and instead appointed by the Mayor, can the Mayor make appointments and/or create committees without the approval of the Commission as a whole?
  • What is the membership on this committee?
  • When the appointed committee met, did they abide by the State of Florida Sunshine Laws?
  • Is there City money allocated to this event? If so, how was that approved? If not, how is the event funded?
  • Did the waiving of fees for the two days receive full City Commission approval?
  • If one particular neighborhood association was chosen to work and/or sell items at the event, what process did they go through to get that approval?
  • Were other neighborhood associations or community groups made aware of this opportunity?
  • Is there any money being made at the event and, if so, what organization will be benefiting?
  • Were city regulations and codes followed in terms of holding a special event at a public park/facility?
  • Were invitations sent to "dignitaries"? How was this funded? How were the "dignitaries" chosen?
I repeat, we need to celebrate the re-opening of our beautiful pool, but we need to do it right. Maybe these questions are completely off-base. Maybe not.

I hear that Mary Lindsey is involved. She is good at answering questions. Maybe she has the answers?

By the way, I hear that tacos are on the menu!

I have since found out that this is being funded through the Recreation Department.

From last night's Commission meeting...

City commissioners voted 4-1 (Commissioner Jo Ann Golden voting no) to amend exemptions on the ban of alcoholic beverages for special events and in certain areas to:

• Permit patrons attending the Street Painting Festival to consume beer, wine and frozen drinks while attending the event.

• Waive the requirement that Bryant Park be fenced off and gated where alcoholic beverages are to be sold during the Fourth of July celebration.

• Allow patrons of the restaurant at the Municipal Golf Course to consume alcoholic beverages at the restaurant and on the golf course when golfing.


From Lake Worth Media

Saturday May 31, 2008 - Amidst all the preparations for the Grand Opening of the pool at the beach, questions arise as to the fairness of the city selecting one neighborhood association to assist in the celebration.

LWM contacted Peter Willard of Greater Bay who characterized the event as a community celebration for getting something done together. When asked about the assignment of John Rinaldi to a committee and Tropical Ridge Neighborhood association to assist the city in the event, Mr Willard responded saying, "I have no knowledge of how that was put together but it's not a political event." John Rinaldi responded that he was selected to serve on a committee to assist the city and that he didn't consider that he was in charge or hosting the event... "just helping out on a celebration of finally getting something done at the beach."
But other residents and members of organizations such as Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, and neighborhood associations are objecting to the process by which Mr. Rinaldi and Tropical Ridge Association ended up being the exclusive group selling food and drinks (fund raising?) at the celebration. One resident said, "How did that happen? They get exclusive rights to fund raise at a city celebration when we were never even told of any meetings or that the city was looking for assistance. We want the opportunity to do some fund raising at a city event too."
LWM also contacted Mayor Jeff Clemens who said he had no knowledge of a committee per se but he welcomed any volunteer to help. He said that John Rinaldi had contacted city staff, Laura Hannah. He also stated he had no knowledge of a fund raiser at this event.
A few critics were quick to point out that perhaps Mr. Rinaldi is gaining some political visibility for his campaign for mayor next year but Mr. Rinaldi disclosed no intentions of running or not. At the moment, it looks like official answers will have to wait until Monday but we will update as soon as anything new turns up.

Historic Lake Worth hotel will burn again tonight - it's a drill

Click title for PB Post story.

Young Hillary?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stars and Stripes Forever - Eight-handed!

By the way, time to celebrate, the City Commission at its meeting tonight said that they are boarding and securing the house at 431 N. L. Street - immediately!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation - 2008 List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Click here to go to National Trust for Historic Preservation website.

Pictures from Yesterday inside and outside of City-owned property at 431 N. L. Street

These were taken by a concerned neighbor. The interior shots are of the out-building. FYI - pigeon guano is classified as a toxic waste or worse.

Note to Mr. McGow re 431 N. L. Street

I have forwarded your comments to the City Commission, Mayor and copied the Assistant City Manager. The City Commission meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. I'm not sure if I will be there in time for public comment on non-agendaed items, but you and your neighbors may want to be there soon after six. You will have to submit a card to speak. E-mail me if you have any questions at

Design Guidelines Workshop - Transit Oriented Development -6/5

Historically Significant City Property in Limbo - 431 North L Street

This is a re-post in light of the previous comment.

You have seen this property before, from a previous post. You can do a search for 431 N L Street here and you can review it in more detail.

The essence of what is going on here is that this property is within a historic district. The building is a work of noted local architect G. Sherman Childs, dating from the late 1920s. Originally a four unit walk-up (rare), it contains many of its original interior features such as period built-ins. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to the structure. Most recently it was a Joe DiMauro property that was divided up into a total of 9 units. It was subject of a Nuisance Abatement Board meeting, where we effectively shut down the structure from operating as a rental. The City then acquired this property, along with 431 N. K Street - another DiMauro property through the exercise of its lien rights from Code Enforcement fines..

The building department wanted both the L and the K Street structures to come down. These requests came before us when I was on the Planning, Zoning, Historic Resource Preservation Board. We approved the demolition of the 431 N. K Street structure as its historic significance had been diminished by insensitive alterations and poor maintenance. That property is now completely vacant and still under City ownership.

The North L Street property was another matter. Darrin Engle made a strong case while he was here for preserving this structure and in his presentation he talked about the importance for the City to perform proper boarding and securing (mothballing) the building.

Well, my friends, that hasn't happened. The Board ended up not approving the demolition, but approved the demolition of the out buildings on the west side of the property - that building is still standing.

In these pictures, taken yesterday, you can see the further deterioration of conditions - more broken windows, no boarding up of the property - properly and it seems as if no one cares.

This is a building by the same architect that designed our current City Hall, formerly the Municipal Auditorium.

It is not on the City's surplus property list, so is there a City use for the building? If so, why isn't anyone talking about it.? If there isn't a reuse of the structure for the City's purposes, why can't we sell it someone who would be willing to restore it while it is still possible to restore?

This is an important piece of the City's history and a blighting influence on this neighborhood. Let's show some respect for our City's history before this building disappears at the hands of the elements.

Comment under Post re Rat/Roach Infestation - 431 North L Street

June 3, 2008,

The City of Lake Worth needs to look after its own property, specifically 431 North L Street. The city owns the apartment building and out buildings on this property and they have become a health and safety issue, not to mention an eyesore. The buildings are unsecured with broken windows and open windows and doors.

Yesterday police arrested someone living in one of the out buildings. That particular building is not secured in any way. The interior is packed full of filth and debris and undoubtedly vermin infested. Pigeons are roosting in the main building while debris is scattered about the property.

Steps must be taken immediately to correct this situation.

Beyond the obvious health and safety concerns this property puts the city at risk of being sued.

“Under the attractive nuisance doctrine of the law of torts, a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children, who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines, and swimming pools. However, it can be applied to virtually anything on the property of the landowner.” From Wickapedia Wikipedia

I trust the City will take immediate steps to secure this property and protect the health and safety of its citizens.

Thomas McGow
423 North L. Street, Lake Worth

The Saga Continues: 431 N. L Street


My introduction to this property was when it appeared on a Nuisance Abatement Board agenda. At the same meeting, we also dealt with another property at 431 N. K Street which happened to occupy the exact same location on the block immediately to the west - the southwest corner of the intersection at 5th Avenue North. Both were owned by the notorious Joe DiMauro. We heard evidence of code enforcement issues
while the properties were occupied. Apparently, these two properties acted in tandem to terrorize the Mango Groves neighborhood - both through their blighted conditions and the sorts of tenants housed on both properties. I remember hearing a series of frightening tales being told by responsible residents in the vicinity that helped us in our decision making.

Based in part to our action on the Nuisance Abatement Board, the City was able to eradicate the nuisance and obtained title to both properties. The property at 431 N. L Street became the City's responsibility (see PBC Property Appraisers card below) in July of 2006.

Upon inspection of both properties by officials in the Building Department once the City had possession, they determined that the best action was demolition of both structures due to unsafe conditions and in an attempt, I believe to eliminate the possibility of the same situation with tenants and the potential impact they would have on the neighborhood.

At the September 20, 2006 meeting of the PZHRPB, both items appeared on the HRPB agenda as requests from the City for demolition of all buildings on each property. Darrin Engle, the City's Urban Designer (who has since moved and no longer works for the City) prepared excellent staff reports on both properties. He concluded, and the board agreed, that the property on K Street, even though it was a contributing structure within the historic district, was in such bad condition structurally and experienced many historically insensitive changes over its lifetime, that it was worthy for demolition. The actual act of demolition occurred back in May of this year.

The building at 431 N. L. was another matter entirely. It is also a contributing building in the same historic district. Depending on the source, the property has either 10 units (City) or 9 units (County) - apparently all legal. However, it was originally designed as a 4 unit walk-up - you can check out the original blueprint above for the 1st floor plan. And guess who it was designed by - G, Sherman Childs.

Mr. Childs worked as an architect for Addison Mizner and did a lot of of designs for buildings in Lake Worth. He was the architect for the Muncipal Auditorium that we now use as City Hall, the Casino building, City Hall Annex, the Birthday Cake house, etc. Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Childs are listed as Lake Worth pioneers (that can be found in the City Hall conference room. And, after World War II, Edgar Wortmann, who redesigned the Casino building and was architect for the City Library, did the work to make the original four units into eight (the other units are in the out buildings to the west of the main structure).

So, the building has a pedigree. When it came before the PZHRPB, we decided to allow for the demolition of the out buildings which were too far gone and not that architecturally significant. This will eventually open up more yard area for a flexible future plan for the property. The PZHRPB deferred action on the requested demolition. At the 9/20/06 meeting, we asked that if be brought back at the first meeting November. After looking on line at minutes and agendas today, I don't think it was ever brought back for formal action. My last meeting on the Board was 12/20/06 so that I could run for office. It might have appeared on a subsequent agenda. I'll check with the Planning Department tomorrow as they were closed today.

The source of most of our discussion at that meeting was finding a suitable use for the property. Since it is already owned by the City, we thought of a recreation center of some sort. That would also be a nice tie-in with the building's architect as he designed many City buildings. Or, the City could find someone to turn it back into its original design of four units - in a condominium arrangement of some sort. The thought is that it is fine to save the building by not demolishing it, but what is going to save it in the long run is finding an economic supportive use for it.

Right now, the job is only half done. The human nuisance factor is gone, but we still have a derelict, vacant building that rehabbed would make a nice addition to the neighborhood. The point was made by Darrin Engle during the meeting, and I have also highlighted those sections in the staff report, that it is important to professionally "mothball' this building until the City identifies an appropriate use for it, or find another private party to buy it. I have reason to be more than a little concerned - one need only look at the building at the A Street round-about - the reportedly oldest building in Lake Worth - to see what happens when the City controls the destiny of a historic structure. More on that one later...

I think the point here is that we are either going to take historic preservation seriously and walk-the-walk or we might as well not have the infrastructure to support a historic preservation program. Right now, Darrin Engle's position has not been filled and there is a gentleman working 20 hours a week at $100 an hour that has NO BACKGROUND in historic preservation (his background is in Comprehensive Planning). He is attempting to do a job for which he does not have the adequate education and experience to do. In a City with so many demands of a critical nature, who is there to carry the torch for this building?

The opposition during my campaign like to hang a necklace on me of the demolitions we approved during my period as Chairman of the PZHRPB. Where are they now when the fate of this building hangs in the balance?

And, the frustrating part for me is that I have a friend who lives in Lake Worth that rehabs houses. He did a major project in South Beach. He is bored right now and would like to dig into this building. But how do we, as a City, get out of our own way and allow that to happen?

Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

From PowerPoint presentation made at 9/20/06 PZHRPB meeting:

G. Sherman Childs

Staff Report Excerpts

Photos Taken 11/10/07

Front of building showing central "walk-up" entrance.

Corner of 5th Avenue North and L Street.

Example of inadequate protection of the structure - open windows, partially boarded. North facade.

No trespassing sign identifying City as owner.

Another example of inadequate protection of the structure - open windows, partially boarded.

Rear view of building, western elevation.

Northwest corner of main building, characteristic Lake Worth gable over door.

Out-buildings approved for demolition - alley to the west.

View looking southeast at alley. Main building shown in background.

No trespassing sign identifying City as owner, along with miscellaneous trash.

Close up of south elevation, second floor non-weather,bird and vermin proof securing of windows.

South yard area, with southern facade showing shed for water heater and hardscape area. This area was formerly used for parking under the previous owner - see aerial.