Friday, April 8, 2011

Lake Worth Lagoon E-News - Spring 2011

Eco-Treasures Exhibit – Open Through April 13

The Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management brought the treasures of the great outdoors to downtown West Palm Beach.  Residents and visitors can explore four South Florida ecosystems inside the 3,000 square foot pavilion: reef, beach & dune, mangrove estuary, and pine flatwoods forest.  This nature showcase is open to the public through April 13.  Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The City of West Palm Beach Waterfront Lake Pavilion is located at 101 S. Flagler Drive.

New Artificial Reef for Lake Worth Lagoon  

The Everglades Island Inshore Artificial Reef Project is nearly complete.  The project contractor placed approximately 1,000 tons of clean concrete bridge pieces to build the reef.  The project was funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.  Palm Beach County ERM staff expect the reef ledges and overhangs will be attractive to a variety of  fish including snappers, goliath groupers and snook.  To learn more, read the project fact sheet (PDF).

Everglades Island Artificial Reef

South Cove Natural Area Update

To date over 110,000 cubic yards of sand has been transported to South Cove.  The County anticipates receiving additional material over the next couple months from two local dredging projects.  The Department has issued the Invitation for Bid for construction of the remaining components of the project (the mangrove islands and planters, oyster reef, and boardwalk) with construction anticipated to begin in July.  To learn more, read the South Cove Natural Area Eco-Treasures Poster(PDF).

South Cove Natural Area

Work Begins on Public Use Facilities for Snook Islands Natural Area 

The project is currently underway with the contractor coordinating work with local utility departments to mark underwater cables in the area.  Once these are fully marked, the first element of the project will be the demolition of the remnant west portion of the old Lake Worth bridge.  The concrete rubble from the demolition will be used to create an artificial reef.  Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.  To learn more, read theproject fact sheet (PDF).

Snook Islands Natural Area

More Mangroves, Oysters, and Seagrasses Planned Near Snook Islands

As of early March, Palm Beach County has received all environmental permits necessary for the Snook Islands Phase II and Bryant Park Wetlands projects.  Currently staff is working on  plans and specifications for both projects and once finalized, the jobs will be bid out together.  The projects will expand mangrove, oyster and seagrass habitat south of the Lake Worth Bridge.  Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2012.  A majority of the funds for both projects, estimated at 5-6 million dollars will come from outside agencies.  To learn more, read the project fact sheet (PDF).

Oysters and Spartina (cordgrass)

PBC ERM Proposes Grassy Flats Environmental Restoration Project 

Palm Beach County ERM is proposing a 15-acre project in Lake Worth Lagoon, south of Ibis Isle and adjacent to the Town of Palm Beach’s Par 3 Golf Course.  Similar to the Ibis Isle Restoration Project, sand will be placed on top of existing muck sediments to create seagrass, mangrove, cordgrass, and oyster habitat.  The project will provide vital habitat for fisheries, wading birds and shorebirds, manatees, and sea turtles.  Potential funding sources include State and Federal grants.

The proposed project is similar to the Ibis Isle Restoration Project.

County Recognized for Manatee Protection Efforts

Palm Beach County ERM was recently awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in recognition of exceptional manatee protection efforts.  PBC ERM takes action year-round to help protect manatees.  Efforts include a brochure with manatee speed zone maps, educational kiosks at local boat ramps, habitat restoration and enhancement projects, and a Law Enforcement Program to increase compliance with manatee speed zones countywide. PBC ERM also assists FWC with manatee rescues and releases when needed. 

John Cassady, FWC, (center) presents a certificate to PBC ERM staff Alessandra Medri and Daniel Bates.

New Lagoon Educator’s Guide Now Available

This 61-page Educator's Guide is a valuable asset to support the learning and enrichment of students and adults.  It provides an overview of lagoon history, biology, environmental challenges, restoration efforts, vocabulary, activities, and useful online resources.  Whether your objective is to impart a sense of place and illustrate our local history or facilitate learning of math and science, the lagoon can be a tremendous resource.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Project

Dear Volunteers,

Please join us at 916 South B. Street in Lake Worth this Saturday Morning for the Installation of the fence as Donated by Home Depot and installed by volunteers from Home Depot and PBSO D14!  We can use a few extra hands to help with clean up and installation and join in the celebration of getting this fence installed so that her property is better protected.

Thank You to everyone that has participated and helped raise funds for this very needed project and for Mrs. Harris....A community that works together to accomplish such a great thing is certainly a community worth celebrating.  With out our own PBSO D14 Team we certainly could not have made these accomplishments so BIG HURRAY for D14!!!  And all the other contributors that have made a huge difference in her life!

Thank You! PS after we finish there we can all head downtown for the EARTH DAY PEACE JAM!
Robert Waples
Neighbors Helping Neighbors Project
Rebuilding Together of the Palm Beaches
Volunteer to make a difference today!

Winston Churchill

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

Parrot Cove Neighborhood Association - April 12 - 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 12
St. Andrews Church
100 North Palmway

If you missed the State of the City address, attend the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Association meeting when Mayor 
Varela will review 2010 and address the challenges facing us in 2011.  Budgets, lawsuits, union negotiations, Palm Beach Sheriff's Office contract, the Casino project and utilities will be part of his presentation.  Residents rarely have the opportunity to address comments and questions directly to their elected officials.  Come with your questions about how the City works and what may be ahead for us.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What passes for public discourse and protest in Lake Worth...

This is the sort of model that our leaders choose to portray for public debate and dialog.  The person that was arrested for tree-sitting at Palm Beach Gardens City Hall was the same one that rudely interrupted the swearing-in ceremony of Commissioner Maxwell.  People blindly followed the words of our "leaders" that the Commissioner-to-be was racist by unsubstantiated claims - disrupting the operations of a downtown business with their protests.  Commissioner Mulvehill picketed the Lake Worth Playhouse debate before the 2009 election with a sign saying "What about the Dolphins?" - in reference to Mayor Varela's work with marine mammals.  To date, I have never seen a dolphin in City Hall.

If you don't want someone to be elected, you create a stream of lies and myths and recite them to anyone and everyone that will listen.  When caught in the act, their acts are justified by subscribing to some sort of "highest good" or giving the excuse that "It's o.k. - everyone does it."

So why is the City Commission and administration so appalled by what they refer to as "Cyber-bullying?" Why should this come as a surprise to them at all?  If you don't get your way here or feel that you are harmed, we have been trained to go to extreme measures in protest.  No wonder we are a divided community.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." John 8:7

John 8
1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Lake Worth city manager her own worst enemy

Tony Plakas' opinion piece on Stanton and her upcoming evaluation. Click title for link.

Cyber-bullying from my first campaign - March 2007

The following poems and messages appeared on the former Lake Worth Talk message board the week before the 2007 election.  The vote spread in that election was 180 votes with Jo Ann Golden winning.  Here they are:


In or out of a dress,
Our bulldozer-happy Wes,
Yes he is a total mess.

He has no care for small town charm,
Bulldozer-happy Wes causes too much harm.

Keep Wes far away from making decisions for our town,
If you elect Wes, he will tear all historic structures down.

Jo-Ann is what the real people of Lake Worth truly desire,
Our bulldozer-happy Wes has proven to be way too much of a liar.

Even I must confess,
That candidate Wes Blackman,
He is indeed a complete and total mess.

He can sing a fine tune in an "alternative" bar,
But as for working honestly in government,
Our dear Wes cannot get very far.

He is in love with concrete mixers and bulldozers too,
Having approved so many historic demotlitions,
Wes wants even more torn down before he is through.

Town after town in America has been greedily overbuilt,
Lake Worth is one of the only survivors,
But not if you elect someone with no concience or sense of guilt.

We can keep Wes from continuing to do so much destruction,
Only if we vote for Jo-Ann Golden,
Will we be able to say no to all the ugly new construction.

The sweet little town of Lake Worth,
Entering a special time of its re-birth.
Most want to keep its historic charm and style,
Whilst others are determined to demolish it mile by mile.

A war between righteousness and greed,
Developers' buddies want to hold public office indeed.
The creative, bohemian, friendly new faces arrive each day,
Ah, but the good 'ol boys here want to push them away.

Jeff & Wes epitomize what wholesome people do detest,
Demolition, overdevelopment, and use for highest and best.
So many in our neighborhoods want progress done with care,
But Jeff & Wes aren't concerned with what is right and fair.

So my dear friends the choice is yours in a week plus a day,
Do you want this jewel to be polished and enhanced the right way?
For if you elect Jeff & Wes to guide our city's course,
What you can look forward to is KFC and Payless Shoe Source!

National chains plus shades of beige everywhere,
Tall buildings will make seeing the blue sky very rare.
Most Florida towns have succumb to this awful fate,
Please vote for Marc & Jo-Ann to keep Lake Worth special and great!

Do you know anything about this guy's personal life and past history?

He is a problem waiting to happen. We don't want the scandals he will bring to our image. Please keep We$ out of our government.

He is not all there in many many ways. 
let's just say that if Wes becomes commissioner, he won't be in office for his full term if his true colors are shown. Save us the scandal please.

"I watched the debate thanks to Jim and his sponsors via the web. I thought Wes did an excellent job. JoAnn seemed a bit off. I voted for her the first time but a supporter of hers came to my door this week and told me Wes was gay. I already knew that. Isn't she a lesbian?
It turned me off to JoAnn and I plan to vote Wes this Tuesday. I am sick of the dirty games they play in this town!"

Lake Worth mayor says The Cottage complaints use 'gay card' against city manager

The PBP's account of what went on last night. Click title for link to article. More commentary to follow.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Anti-gay accusations in Lake Worth: City manager biased

Here is Willie's article. Click title for link.

Sebring mulls 'entertainment district'

Another city going in the opposite direction from the one that Lake Worth is headed in, apparently - click title for link.

This just in...

There also appears to be an article on this topic in today's PBP - printed edition - not the on-line "free" edition.  Please do not go out to buy one.

Keep sheriff on duty in Lake Worth: Seek cheaper contract, not return to city police department

The bottom line of the PBP opinion piece: (Click title for link)

Even in these difficult times, ensuring public safety is worth the cost.

Lake Worth Fishing Tournament

Monday, April 4, 2011

Golden to face challenge for Lake Worth commission seat

Andy Amoroso is running for the District #3 seat and apparently Jo-Ann Golden has indicated that she is running again. Click title for link to PBP article.

From FaceBook: Jessie Odell's Commentary on the Cottage harassment issue...

"I have been watching closely the situation at hand that is swirling around the Cottage in Lake Worth and Susan Stanton. I find it all very hypocritical with all the PSA's I have done, and so many others on Bulling that one of our own is now doing the bulling. Susan Stanton for those of you who don't know is the Trans-gender Lake Worth City Manager.  Her Story was also featured in CNN as they followed him as he became a she.  Susan Stanton was also Fired from her previous job when he Announced he intended to have the operation.  Susan Stanton found the love and safety she'd so craved when she came to Lake Worth and was hired as City Manager.  Most of the Gay community rallied around Susan.  Compass, former Mayor Jeff Clemons, Everyone was on the Stanton Bandwagon.  Now the things have changed. All the preaching we have all done about bulling our youth, bulling our Gay brothers and sisters, it's has a new Face.  Susan Stanton. That's right.  Not to long ago Compass held an event in the cultural park in the middle of Lake Worth. Shortly after they were contacted by the City manager with outrage about how men dressed as women offended so many and it wasn't going to happen again.  One has to wonder How a person who was once only a man in a woman's dress could take such a harsh opinion, when after all Compass, and many of its DONORS stood behind and supported Ms. Stanton being hired on as City Manager.

Now it seems Ms. Stanton has turn her eyes on the Cottage.  She wants the Sunday Tea dance stopped.  Once again she feels that Men in dresses and Men dancing with other men is offensive to the gay community.  Has Ms. Stanton forgot that she was not to long ago just that?  A man in a woman's dress, dancing with other men?  It seems that it was ok then, but not so much now that she's had a sex change.  Did the sex change also change her to republican?  Perhaps she is keeping company with Sarah Palin these days?

What I am getting at with all this, is we MUST protect our community.  I am calling out to the entire GLBT community world wide to focus it's eyes on the Lake Worth City Manger.  We have a bully who needs to be addressed as such. Every GLBT member, Every Member of Compass and Donors of Compass, need to step up and defend the discrimination that is happening right now with in out community. If your not standing up and helping, your part of the problem.  Before you right another check to support ANYTHING in Lake Worth, ask them if they will be standing up to protect ALL of the gay community in what is happening here, or are they just protecting what benefits their own best interest. 

If Ms. Stanton is allowed to move forward with this kind of behavior, Lake Worth will be moved back into the fifties where Everyone claimed to be straight, and coward if anyone knew other wise. The Gay pride flag will no longer the flown in front of City hall, Community organizations such as Compass, will be a thing of the past, and their certainly will be no gay pride.  So decide NOW, TODAY, where you stand on this issue.  You may think it's not your problem, but it is. Get to the commission meeting tomorrow in Lake Worth and make your voice count. We have to stop the bulling, and it's not just in the school house any more.

I will personally be spending my day contacting every news media organization I can nation wide to ask them to help remind our City Manager Who and what she was, and who it was who loved her and supported her and gave her a place to call home, and a job.  I encourage you all to take the time today as well, write to CNN, FOX NEWS, NBC, and ABC. Let them know, give them the history and tell them the story, of the man who was fired because he wanted to be a woman, and the community who welcomed him with open Arms, that he turned on, once he became a she.   If this isn't stopped now, we will be set back by years.

You don't have to be Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered or BI to be affected by this, or to feel the need to come to action.  Maybe you have a child, a brother, sister, mother or father, a cousin.  Maybe you just believe in love and equal rights for all. Come show your support. Contact your news affiliates, contact people whom you know that donate into the gay community. This not going to be an easy fight, but it is a necessary one.  It's all so spilling over into the City Workers.  So now more than ever, you can see Bulling is not just a gay thing.  I can imagine how these workers must feel.  Times are hard, if they go against the City manager, they may not be able to support their families.  You can Bet Ms. Stanton will find a reason to let them go. If nothing else after all, the City of Lake Worth is in Financial Crisis, simply lay them off if they speak out. The position of City Manger is that, it's not a title of dictator and I think we all need to send a Strong message to Ms. Stanton to remind her of where her pay check is coming from.

Please go to the Lake Worth City hall and fill out the card so that your voice maybe heard at tomorrow nights commission meeting.  Support your GLBT community.  Show your gay pride.  Please repost this anywhere permitted."  Signed Jessie Odell

County Commission Holds Evening Mtg - Providing Residents An Opportunity to Attend

Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners

On Tuesday, April 5, the Board of County Commissioners meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. to provide residents who cannot make regular daytime meetings an opportunity to attend.   The meeting will be held at Government Center, 301 North Olive Avenue, 6th floor, West Palm Beach.

The format of the meeting will provide attendees with an opportunity to address the board at 7:00 pm.  If you would like to speak, please make sure you complete a comment card upon your arrival. 

A complete agenda is available at

Please contact my office at 561-355-2204, if you have any questions or require additional information.

Commissioner Steven L. Abrams

Sunday, April 3, 2011

You can't make this stuff up...

One of the noise complainants related to the Cottage, Christine Davis, has a website called "Mean Old Bitch", sells trinkets and t-shirts with the "MOB" logo, and her blog is called "Bitch Rag."  FYI

Feds issue Cease and Desist Order to shut down beach project

From Palm Beach County Reef Rescue:

Amid reports of massive silt plumes and coral reef burial the US Corp of Army Engineers, on Friday (April 1, 2011), issued an order to the Town of Hillsboro Beach to immediately cease beach renourishment activities. A copy of the order can be viewed at: .
Environmental groups have been gathering evidence since the project began in mid-March of daily permit violations that have resulted in silt plumes travelling for miles beyond compliance requirements. Cleanup and mitigation costs for project environmental impacts could exceed many millions of dollars.
On Sunday March 27, beach-goers braved a sea of mud as silt levels measured 10 times the project permitted standards. (Reef Rescue photo)

Something else that needs reaffirming related to the construction of the Casino building...

It turns out that the city's zoning code, under the Floodplain management regulations (Chapter 23.25), a pile foundation system is required for NEW CONSTRUCTION in the coastal "V" zone, which includes the beach property.  See below:

Coastal high hazard areas (V zones): Located within the areas of special flood hazard established in section of this article, are areas designated as coastal high hazard areas. These areas have special flood hazards associated with wave wash, therefore, the following provisions shall apply:
All buildings or structures shall be elevated so that the lowest supporting horizontal member (excluding pilings or columns) is located no lower than the base flood elevation level, with all space below the lowest supporting member open so as not to impede the flow of water. Open lattice work or decorative screening may be permitted for aesthetic purposes only and must be designed to wash away in the event of abnormal wave action and in accordance with subsection (h) below.
All buildings or structures shall be securely anchored on pilings or columns.
All pilings and columns and the attached structures shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement due to the effect of wind and water loads acting simultaneously on all building components. The anchoring and support system shall be designed with wind and water loading values which equal or exceed the one hundred-year mean recurrence interval (one-percent annual chance flood).
A registered professional engineer or architect shall certify that the design, specifications and plans for construction are in compliance with the provisions contained in subsections (b), (c) and (d) above.
There shall be no fill used as structural support.

Remember, the architect went to the city's building official (actually the City of West Palm Beach's building official) and got him to declare that due to the deteriorated condition of the building, the city could include much of the work as addressing code deficiencies. This even though nearly 80% of the building is being demolished. This is the basis of the city's application to the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection for construction seaward of the coastal construction control line. This interpretation allows the city to not build the building on piles (a complicating and expensive proposition.) It is not included in the current casino building budget.  

However, it seems that the city's OWN ZONING CODE requires pilings regardless. The idea here is that if a serious hurricane hits, the building will be there even if the sand beneath it washes away. In my mind this is an important consideration especially since we are spending limited public money on the project.

This was pointed out to me by a colleague in another community who is a building official.

To claim this is only a repair to fix code violations (condemned building) and circumvent all of the applicable regulations of the City, state and feds is unreal.  I don't think that it is something the city can get away from. I also don't see the grounds for a variance from this requirement since there is no "hardship" - the typical test in issuing a variance. Also, variances are generally issued as a relief from a dimensional requirement, not from enhanced building-related requirements.