Friday, May 18, 2012

Upcoming National Haitian American Forum

Click here for more information.

May 26th, 4:30 p.m.

Barton Elementary School is located at:

1700 Barton Rd., Lake Worth, FL 33460

Directions: I-95 to Lantana Rd. East to Andrew Redding Rd. North on Andrew Redding Rd.

School on west side of Andrew Redding Rd.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From a concerned reader regarding a "Revival" on Lucerne and D Street:

I don't know what your plans are tonight , but we have a new development in front of the Quick Stop on Lucerne Ave. For about 5 weeks now, a group of black men in long white robes, trimmed in red, wearing a star of David around their necks have been preaching loudly to anyone who will listen. They claim Jesus was really black.(They only show up on Thursday nights at 8:30pm). We are uncomfortable with the situation. I'm attaching the flyer we received from them. I did speak with Commissioner Amoroso about this."

Click here for flyer - no endorsement intended, just provided as information.  Anyone know more about this?  This is the Kwik Stop at Lucerne and D.

Goodbye Ms. Summer...

2 Lake Worth homes built with federal grant money to be dedicated

More evidence that the CRA is where it is at when it comes to getting things done in Lake Worth.  Click title for link to article/announcement.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

At Lake Worth Middle School...

No surprise here...

From Channel 12's FaceBook page comes this:

 It seems Florida has thousands of dead people listed as voters. State officials checked Social Security files and concluded that 53-thousand people who died were still registered to vote. The Department of State says election supervisors have seven days to remove the deceased voters. What do you think about this?

Do not think that this was not a tool used in previous elections. This was one of the targets of the massive volunteer poll-watching effort this last election here in Lake Worth.

Manalapan/South Palm Beach: Targets of lawsuit could do better than anticipated - The Coastal Star

From the Coastal Star, we learn of more fallout from the best-city-manager/commission-ever.  From the article:

Manalapan and South Palm Beach town officials think they may emerge smelling like a rose from a dispute with the city of Lake Worth over payments for the operation of a regional sewer system. 
    In August 2010, Lake Worth sued its seven municipal partners in the regional system — including Manalapan, South Palm Beach and Lantana — claiming it was owed $7 million for operation and maintenance of the system, dating back years. Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Atlantis and Palm Beach State College also are being sued.
    A consultant hired by the seven entities thinks Manalapan may have overpaid by $12,000 rather than underpaid, Town Manager Linda Stumpf said.
    “That hasn’t been presented to Lake Worth. That’s just our calculation,’’ Stumpf told Manalapan commissioners. “But we’ve believed from the beginning that the numbers that they’ve come up with are excessive.’’

Click title for link to entire article.  I wish the blog passed out tissues sometimes.

View All Photos < America's Happiest Seaside Towns - Coastal Living

Lake Worth didn't make the list - but Jupiter is #9.  I guess "resiliency" doesn't equal happiness.  Click title for link to list, pictures and how the communities were chosen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Study of West Palm Beach's south end leaves officials flat

I am disappointed that the report apparently - I will get a copy of it - left out the importance of US 1 in the area's early development and mid-Twentieth century prosperity.  The report dealt with challenges and solutions for South Dixie Hwy.  Much more could be done to celebrate this history.  And the board that is formed here should include interests from Lake Worth - for continuity and regional cooperation.  Click title for link to article.

High expectations?

When I hear some people talk about how the new casino at the beach will be a major economic jolt to our downtown, it seems like they have this sort of image in mind.  I think some of the city's financial projections anticipate this.
This just is not going to happen.  The building is smaller than the old one, will basically have the same mix of tenants, etc.  By the way, this image I stumbled upon while on FaceBook - it is Ft. Lauderdale Beach during a late 1970s/early 1980s Spring Break.

NSP2 Home Dedications this Friday & Saturday

Mango May Meeting this Thursday

Hello all Mango Groves Neighbors and Friends,

Just a reminder that we are having our May Neighborhood Association meeting at 7pm this Thursday, May 17, 2012 at Compass on Dixie and 2nd Ave North.

All are welcome.   Robert Waples will be there to tell us about Neighbors Helping Neighbors Project and Paint Your Heart Out. He is a favorite and valued member of our community, as well as a truly kind and generous soul.  PBSO will be there to give us an update of what's going on in our neighborhood.  We will discuss the 4th of July weekend Annual Grunge Raft Race Committee Plans and the Neighborhood Olympics to be held this year in conjunction with the opening of the 2012 Summer Games in London.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Lake Worth to consider $850K settlement with power co-op

I wonder if our electric rates will reflect this windfall, if the City Commission approves the settlement offer.  And can we please find out the "net" figure - settlement less costs to defend the city's position.  I am sure the number would be much smaller.  Click title for link to article.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Who knew?

Russ' question about who the architect of my house was led me to do some Internet sleuthing.  I remember trying to chase down information before regarding the architect in the title block - soon after I bought the house, but could find nothing.  I just thought he was a forgotten Miami architect that drew post WW II house designs.

Well, I stumbled on to the City of Miami Beach designation report for their Ocean Beach historic district.  For those of you that know Miami Beach, it is the area generally south of the causeway and home of Joe's Stone Crabs.  The architect indicated on the set of plans that I have is Carlos B. Schoeppl, who is identified in their report as one of the "master architects" of the district.

So, my house may have a bit of a pedigree, but to what degree is the question due to the differences between the plan and the actual construction of the house.  All of these factors for properties within the College Park, and other historic districts, should be considered when the districts are re-surveyed.  Which is being planned out - probably taking place years hence.  Right now, my house is considered "non-contributing" based on the survey done in 1998 - it was not yet 50 years old at that point in time - which is usually the threshold for historic significance.  Nothing was noted regarding its architect and the wrong built date is given in the survey.

Click here for more information on Carlos B. Schoeppl - thanks Russ!

Anyway, I hope you find this interesting and thanks for the indulgence.

My house has a fraternal twin...

Northwood Shores - WPB
I have lived where I am currently living now since August of 2000.  Before that, I lived just south of downtown and before that at 7th South and H.  When I purchased my home, someone mentioned that they knew of a twin to it in the Northwood area of West Palm Beach.  Back then, I took a drive up there and found this house and thought that it was indeed a curiosity.

Over the years, I didn't think much about it.  I did, soon after I purchased my home, chase down a set of the original house plans in the city's property file for my address.  If you are interested in the history of your house - from various permits to the original plans or plans for an addition, you may be surprised to know the city can provide a lot of information for you.  There are missing periods due to a fire and of course some questionable record keeping practices over the years, but for the most part the records are intact - and they happened to be in that condition for my house.  I had the plans sent out to a printer and have had the two sheets framed.  They hang in two different parts of the house.
Northwood Shores - WPB
Interestingly, after studying the plans, it is apparent that the contractor who built the house in West Palm Beach adhered more to the actual written plan than the contractor that built my house.  The similarities are the general layout, placement of the garage and the courtyard area in front of the house - really its distinguishing feature.

The differences might be due to the fact that my house was initially started for one buyer and somewhere along the way that deal might have fallen part.  According to the information that I have been able to put together, the house was finished in the early part of 1951, but not occupied until 1952.  The first house owner's name does not match the name indicated on the plans.

For whatever reason, there are things that are part of the built house in WPB that are not on mine.  The plan shows two chimneys - the WPB home has one, mine has none.
College Park - LW
On the plan and on the WPB house, there is a stepped-back treatment around the side and back of the house which was a common device for more window area to catch the breeze before the advent of air conditioning.  Mine happens to be squared-off, which ended up making a larger master bedroom and Florida Room area than indicated on the original plan.  This could have been a cost-saving move as the undulating walls would have taken more time, effort and materials than what was designed.  But I still like the result.

College Park - LW
The original plans called for a ledge beneath the front bedroom window - which the house in WPB has and mine does not.  Mine has some ledges built into the courtyard area, but not as many as the WPB house.
Northwood Shores - WPB
When I drove by the WPB house in 2000, I remember seeing the remains of a wooden "fence" between the columns in the courtyard area.  This is shown on the original plan as being wood.  But you can see that my house has a perforated brick fence between the columns which has fared time better than the wooden design used on the WPB house.  Landscaping now fills the void between the columns there.
College Park - LW
The two pictures below show the differences in the two courtyard areas and ways that the two houses were constructed.  One of the subtle differences is that the floor in my house was elevated so that you have to walk up a step from grade from the driveway to the courtyard and then two more to enter the house.  The WPB house is built entirely on the same grade.  Both have a brick facade along the front of the house, but the WPB house has a much larger/taller "beam" between the brick face and the roofline - mine is much narrower which I think lends to a more pleasing proportion.
Northwood Shores - WPB
The smaller window in the corner of the courtyard is identical in both houses, mine is just obscured by landscaping.  You can also see the WPB house's chimney - where mine is without.  However, I do have a fireplace in the living room.  Sometimes, around Christmas, I think this could be a metaphor for my life - having a fireplace with no chimney means Santa must make extraordinary effort to deliver gifts.  I wonder if the children that lived in the house ever thought about that?
College Park - LW
The garage differences are unique too.  The WPB house is again according to plan, with an offset garage door and rounded edges to the garage door - along with tighter horizontal lines.  You get the "feel" with my house, but it is clearly a more simplified design and construction.  On the plan, it indicates that the area inside and to the right of the door was meant to be a "mud room" sort of bathroom.  I am not sure that is the case with the WPB house, as I have never been inside.
Northwood Shores - WPB

College Park - LW

It is also revealing that these two homes were built in these two neighborhoods around the same time.  Both were considered nice places to live, with the Northwood area of WPB having known to be inhabited by many doctors since the neighborhood was between two hospitals.

Bill and I used this as a destination for a bike excursion this weekend.  I was able to talk to an across the street neighbor and left a message on the homeowner's voicemail.  I haven't heard back from him - maybe he thought I was casing the joint or something.  But I would like to get a chance to look around inside and see what other differences there are between the two.

One thing that I would like to check out is whether or not the ceiling in the living room of the WPB house is anything like this.  This was a big selling point for me when I saw it and those that visit always comment on the beamed ceiling.

I called the WPB Historic Preservation office this morning and asked if they had any information on this house.  They did not.  It is not currently in a historic district - it begins west of Poinsettia - this property is east in Northwood Shores.  They also didn't have the usual "green card" for the property - which is a little odd.  It would be interesting to know how closely chronologically they were built.

I'll let you know what I find out.

Interesting historic factoids...

Thumbing through the College Park Historic District designation report, I found the following reference about Lake Worth and West Palm Beach once could have become one city.  See below:
And College Park was platted and lots were sold prior to it being officially in the city of Lake Worth.  Here is some more on this early period...
And I had no idea that success was the born child of progress!

Wes Blackman Volunteer Board Application May 2012

FYI - thought you'd like to take a look at my application for the HRPB or P&Z.  The interviews will be happening June 25th and 26th, beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Click title for link.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Filling out City board appointment application...

At last week's Historic Resource Preservation Board (HRPB) meeting, we were told by staff that each one of the four existing board members would have to re-apply this year, regardless of the end date of our term.  This is due to the continued reformation of both the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) and HRPB - adjusting the number of voting members and alternates for both (5 and 2, respectively) and making sure that at least a majority of those on each board have some sort of professional expertise in the work areas of each board.  Essentially, the city wants to start with a clean slate, based on these standards.  This re-formulation is also setting the foundation for implementation of the 7 1/2 year delay in getting new land development regulations.  But that is another story.

The City Commission temporarily re-appointed existing members of each board until new members are selected late in June.  During that process, Mr. McNamara resigned from P&Z and Ms. Jennings lost her seat on the same board.  So, what this all means is that all five voting positions are up for grabs on both boards, along with the two alternate positions.  The applications have to be made by May 25th.

So, to get my application out of the way, I went to the city's website where I found the application under Volunteer Boards.  On the page where the link is, there is an indication that it was last revised on May 9th - recent enough that it should contain all pertinent and up-to-date information.  Well, guess doesn't.

Here is what it says about the vacancy status on the HRPB:
The above description still reflects a seven person voting board, not five (there are four remaining members) and it does not reflect the fact that there are really 7 vacancies - five regular members and two alternates)

The P&Z log on the city's website shows a board of seven members, all with full voting powers (update in January 2012). The alternate positions (formerly two) were eliminated immediately prior to Ms. Jennings being appointed to the board.  We wouldn't want a former city commissioner having to sit as a usually non-voting member of this board - especially the one that controls height!  Hmmm...  Anyway, the application currently says that three members are needed on P&Z, when in fact five regular members are needed, along with two alternates.

When will the information that the city is responsible for putting out be relevant, current and actually reflect the truth?  I have yet to see it done on a consistent basis.  I am hopeful that this is one of the changes our new city manager can initiate.