Friday, June 14, 2013

Evening falls...

Neighborhood Clean-up with Commissioner Amoroso

Where? - 1405 Lake Avenue
Who? - Royal Poinciana Neighborhood Association
Time? - Saturday, June 15th from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

The neighborhood association covers the area from Lake Avenue to Sixth Avenue South and from I-95 to Dixie Hwy.

Clutch the pearls height-sensitive people...

And count your lucky stars that you live in Lake Worth! This is what is proposed for what is referred to as the Chapel-by-the-Lake site.  Just east of the Palm Beach Atlantic campus and south of the middle bridge in West Palm Beach.  Currently proposed at 29 stories and around 400 feet tall - which must include parking.  The structure to the south is existing.

New Smyrna Beach's oldest hotel site to become assisted living facility |

What we don't want for the Gulfstream property. Click title for link.
The developer of a 63-bed assisted living facility slated to be built at the former site of the city's first hotel said he is in talks with three companies interested in operating the center.

Chauncey Mitchell Depew, US Senator from 1899-1911

“I imagine that one fine morning we shall wake up with apparatus ready to take us to our offices by an automobile carriage…But…I cannot conceive our active Americans adapting themselves to the pursuit of pleasure in carriages moved…by any other motor but the horse. What has made the bicycle so universally popular but the one fact that it permits of action on the part of the rider, that it affords excitement?”

- Quoted in "The Horseless Age" by Henry W. Fischer, Munsey’s Magazine, May 1895 

If you wondered what was going on in Paris last night...

Try this "bird's eye" video view of the "Dinner in White", taken courtesy of a drone.

Video shared by the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission on FaceBook

Lake Worth is categorized as a "Fun and Entertainment Beach."  Nice production, not sure about how some of these beaches found their categories.  The Lake Worth beach has been used as a movie location in the past - including the pier. Can you name the movies?

An example of just what I am talking about concerning cities' use of social media...

This is a snippet from the City of Dayton, Ohio's FaceBook page:
This is "Episode 20" of "Take 5 with the City Manager."  It's a simple YouTube video that is done in his office and he is either talking into a laptop with a webcam in it or using a simple video camera or a point-and-shoot camera on a tripod. Both inexpensive, or already existing, easy-to-use pieces of technology to communicate to anyone who may be interested in what he has to say. It's nothing that would likely go "viral" but it shows that there is an effort to reach out and communicate - proactively - with the public, without the need to go to a meeting to do so.

This is the actual video from the Dayton's YouTube channel which happens to have 582 videos on it. As of today, they have a total of 210 subscribers. That's more people than can fit in our City Commission chambers.

Will this change the world if Lake Worth starts doing something like this?  Maybe not, but it does demonstrate an effort to communicate to the residents the city serves and provides another means to interact.  And IT IS NOT THAT DIFFICULT!

Video from last Tuesday's (6/11/13) City Commission Special Meeting

Found a new trick on YouTube where you can create a playlist from multiple videos.  This might be more easily digestible than putting together one hour long video.  You might find it easier to skip around and listen to what interests you. Or, you can watch the whole thing as if it was an entire video.

As far as the content of the meeting, a few things stood out to me.  It was made clear that the improvements that would be undertaken and funded partly by this $150,000 state grant were for the interior only and would not affect the shuffleboard courts at this time.  It was also made clear that the city and the CRA will both be able to use the facility, but the priority will be for arts and cultural activities.  It seemed as though the occasional city meeting could happen there.  One of the improvements listed as part of the project is a public address system for the building. If you have ever been to a meeting there, you know that being able to hear people speak to a group is a problem.

It also sounded to me that much of the city's match, beyond the $37,500 in actual cash, has already been spent on computers, equipment and some building improvements that have already been undertaken.

What was surprising to me is that the Commission and the City Manager seemed to have to justify the focus on the arts as a redevelopment tool and that this focus was somehow a "surprise" to the public. There was the usual talk from Commissioners McVoy and Maxwell about the need for the public to "buy in" to the art's focus. This left me scratching my head since the CRA already has created momentum in this direction with the LULA program, the Artist Lofts that are in the block next to the shuffleboard court building, the Street Painting Festival, etc.  It was also distressing to hear that the City Commission and the CRA haven't had a joint meeting for a while and seem to be two ships passing in the night.  That has to change.

We were also reminded by the city manager, in response to complaints about this being a "last minute" request, that the city as an organization is not at a point where it should be (staffing, skills, etc.) that it can proactively respond to opportunities like this.  And that it is apparently incapable of communicating much of anything to people in the general community, other than those people that regularly attend meetings. Can we include in the next city budget a position of PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER for the City of Lake Worth? And, along with that a special events coordinator - either in the same position or person - or share that responsibility with other departments?  Maybe then the city can start filling in this apparent information "gap" and start employing social media tools that other cities around us are already successfully using.

The good thing is that, after all the discussion, the Commission voted unanimously to approve the lease of the building to the CRA for 10 years, which will allow it to apply for the state grant.  And the lease would be "null and void" if the CRA is not successful in obtaining the grant.

Charlie Crist roots for his new team at Congressional Baseball Game | Post on Politics

Patrick Murphy (D) proves he's a winner again.  Who's that guy he replaced?  Oh, that's right, that guy was the BEST CONGRESSMAN.  Ever.  Click title for link.

Palm Beach County tourism leaders debate how to spend tourism... |

Kind of hard to justify funding the Lake Worth pool at the beach with this money as some suggest.  It looks like the County Commission has locked up this money for a while.  This is from the article, click title for link:
Nearly half of the bed tax collected goes to luring more visitors to the county, and by law all the tax money must be spent on tourism-related functions. In Palm Beach County, about 40 percent goes to debt for Roger Dean Stadium and the convention center, large infrastructure projects that cater to visitors.
Currently at the heart of the debate is a capital projects reserve fund with $12.5 million. About $4 million is added to the fund each year.
During the recession, $3 million from the fund was tapped for emergency advertising, which helped the industry recover more quickly than most, and in 2009, $10 million was put into a maintenance fund for the stadium and convention center.
Some key hoteliers with the Palm Beach County Hotel & Lodging Association want those idle dollars spent on ads and marketing now.
Roger Everingham, general manager of The Colony Palm Beach and longtime association board member, queried TDC and county officials Thursday about how it is being used.
Jergensen and county Deputy Administrator Verdenia Baker explained that the reserve fund is for capital needs and will be used to renovate the Airport Center in the next three years for bed-tax agencies, and it will be tapped for debt service on a $50 to $60 million parking garage needed for the convention center.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What the competition is doing via FaceBook:

I am sure that they are using other social media as well. We found out at last night's Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting that there are still some "tire kickers" interested in the Gulfstream Hotel property - for use as a hotel!  Apparently, things seem to get bogged down when the discussion turns to price with the current owners.  Stay tuned...

Lantana to throw $25,000 fireworks bash to reopen bridge |

Lantana promises to open its new bridge with a BANG later this year.  Click title for link.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raphael Clemente - Executive Director West Palm Beach DDA 06/14 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Blog Talk Radio

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Raphael Clemente to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios.  Besides being the Executive Director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, Mr. Clemente also is an avid bicyclist and is known for integrating biking into his daily routine.  He also grew up in Lake Worth and will share his recollections of what Lake Worth was like back when.

Click title for link to live show between 12 and 1 p.m. Friday 6/14 or later for the archived show. Leave comments below for questions to be asked during the show.

Atheist monument at Florida courthouse to rival 10 Commandments display | Fox News

More on the atheist monument in Starke, Florida - that will be installed near the Ten Commandments monument.  Click title for link.

Coastal plan and Beach Management Agreement get go aheads |

The Town of Palm Beach approves funding for a number of beach re-nourishment and seawall projects. They are also allocated money for dredging "lagoon-side" access to channels in the Intracoastal
Waterway. Click title for link.

Palm Beach Outlets names restaurant, moves forward with big... |

More commercial venues and retail space to drive to from Lake Worth. This is the former site of the Palm Beach Mall and West Palm Beach has given it sort of a "blanket approval" based upon the size of the former mall space.  That amounted to about 1.5 million square feet. Click title for link.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Forget about Southern Waste Systems as a polluter, check out our own power plant!

This image is part of NPR's Interactive "Poisoned Places" map.  Put in 33460 and click on the location of the plant.  No other sites appear in Lake Worth.  Click here for the plant's EPA record.  If someone can help with interpreting this information, that would be welcomed.

Two City Commission Meetings Tonight (6/11) : A special meeting and a work session on the budget

The special meeting is first, starting at 6 p.m., in the Commission Chambers and immediately following will be the 2nd work session on the coming year's budget.  There is a lot of back-up information related to the budget work session - some 150 pages - and it will focus on five of the city's infrastructure funds: water, local sewer, regional sewer, refuse and stormwater.

The subject of the special meeting is an execution of a 15 year lease from the city to the CRA for it to create and use the building and land as an arts and cultural center.  According to the program, the city cannot receive the grant, but the CRA can in order to accomplish the anticipated improvements.  The grant would be for $150,000 from the state program and requires a $300,000 match in the form of financial assistance ($37,500) and the rest from in-kind contributions.  So, that would bring the total project to around $450,000.

These schematic aerial views show the general concept of the project.  The area where the existing shuffleboard courts would be made into exhibit and market space for art and cultural-related activities and displays.

This comes as a bit of a leap from previous discussions which included keeping all or some of the shuffleboard courts intact.  The same issues related to security of the property, especially with the addition of artist work need to be addressed.  But, on the positive side, it does blend in well with the artists loft project that is a literally a stone's throw from this project and it keeps the property in the general public realm so that opportunities for a new city hall or some sort of coordination with an eventual transit train station in the area can still be made..

I plan to attend the meeting on the shuffleboard court building and will attempt to video most of it.

Just got back from the meeting.  The Commission approved the lease for 10 years, not the 15 included in the back-up material.  It also specifically did not decide on what to do with the shuffleboard courts since those are outside improvements and what is contemplated by the grant relates to the interior space.  Below is one rendering of the interior space that was presented at the meeting:

ArtPlace America's grant to fund transit project in Baltimore -

Art and transit combine, with help from European artists.  One wonders if Baltimore is out of artists, or if this is just a way to fund the project.  Click title for link.
European artists will help transform Baltimore bus, train and light rail stations to be more attractive, better designed and more user-friendly as part of a $200,000 grant from ArtPlace America, a consortium of banks and foundations that gives money to art projects with the potential for regenerating communities.

Project for Public Spaces | How to Be a Citizen Placemaker: Think Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper

This is a great concept and follows the do-it-yourself principles of "Build a Better Block."  Lots of good ideas here for making more out of public space.  Here is how "Restaurant Day" transformed Helsinki, Finland:
Building off of that last point, the organizers of Restaurant Day have turned cooking into an excuse for a carnival, giving residents of Helsinki, Finland, a chance to showcase their creativity in the kitchen and turning the city’s streets into a delectable buffet in the process. Their idea to organize a one-day festival where anyone could open a restaurant anywhere (from living rooms to public plazas), started when Antti Tuomola was struggling through navigating the onerous process of starting up a brick and mortar restaurant in the city. Recalls Kirsti Tuominen, one of the friends who works with Tuomola on organizing the event, “We knew from the beginning that we wanted to do something that would be fun, easy, and social at the same time. Something positive. We didn’t want to go the protest route. That’s the not-so-efficient way of trying to make a difference; it’s often better to show a good example and then it’s harder for the opposition.”
The first Restaurant Day took place back in 2011; today, it has been celebrated in cities all over the world. The festival is a brilliant example of how a completely normal daily activity can totally transform a city’s public spaces when approached in a creative way. “The street experience itself was a joy to behold,” wrote City of Sound blogger Dan Hill after participating on one of the festivals. “It truly felt like a new kind of Helsinki. International, cosmopolitan, diverse yet uniquely Finnish…It felt like a city discovering they could use their own streets as they liked; that the streets might be their responsibility.”
Tuominen echoes this in her own reflection on the event, explaining that “[Finland] is so full of regulations that people tend to see regulations even where they don’t exist! That’s been hindering things for a long time, but Restaurant Day has encouraged people to use their public spaces in a new way. Sometimes people just need someone to show them, or give them a gentle kick in the butt, and things will start happening.”
Click title for link to article.  Note that this is the third in a series, so be sure to check out the two preceding articles.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Outdoor concerts, inflatable pools planned for downtown Lake... |

Cool idea.  J Street is turning out to be a destination! Click title for link.

West Palm Beach using its FaceBook page to promote that it is now on Linked-In

And they are using it to post jobs available, which seems like a logical place to do it.  And what is Lake Worth doing?

Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative - Management Plan

Public Comment Sought on
2013 Lake Worth Lagoon Management Plan Update
The Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management is accepting public comment on the 2013 Lake Worth Lagoon Management Plan Update. The plan summarizes the progress made over the past five years towards understanding, restoring and enhancing the Lake Worth Lagoon ecosystem and charts the course for continuing improvements.
The public is invited to view the plan and provide comments to
Comments will be accepted through June 15, 2013.
If you have questions or would like to discuss specific sections of the plan or comments that you have submitted, please contact Alessandra Medri, Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management, (561) 233-2512.
Tips for Preparing Comments
  • Be specific. Cite the section heading and page number to which each comment refers.
  • Be clear and concise. Be sure that comments are as clear and straightforward as possible. Also, use a separate paragraph for each issue discussed.
  • Cite references if appropriate. Where data can be cited, be sure to include a full and accurate citation.

Bicycle Parking/Storage Japanese Style

Who knew? Some interesting facts about the border between the U.S. and Canada...

We tend not to think too much about international borders since we live on a peninsula which essentially creates a natural border.  I never heard about the "no touching zone" or that there are some disputed areas.

Three big-ticket ZIP codes at high risk for storm surge damage |

Fortunately, 33460 is not mentioned, but a super storm like Sandy or a Category 5 that affects the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area would no doubt have a great impact to Lake Worth.  There are some areas that are more vulnerable and have a higher value of real estate.  Click title for link.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Papa Ruby Koskoff /Obituary / June 4, 1924 – June 8, 2013

Artist Rubin “Papa Ruby” Koskoff, who painted hundreds of murals with his mural artist daughter, Sharon Koskoff, passed away on Saturday Evening after spending four days in Hospice of Palm Beach County at Delray Medical Center. Papa Ruby had Alzheimer Disease, but Congestive Heart Failure was the cause of passing to heaven.

In Brooklyn, Rubin Koskoff owned a blouse factory where ladies garments were sewn. He retired to Lake Worth in 1985 and then lived in Delray Beach for the past 9 years. In South Florida, Ruby designed and sewed all of the clothing his wife Shirley Koskoff, wore each day.

Over the years in Palm Beach County, Ruby Koskoff worked with his daughter Sharon at the below list of schools and public places. Principals loved him and even at age 80 couldn’t be kept off the ladder or scaffolding. In 2001, at Loggers Run Middle School, Papa Ruby fell off a ladder, broke his pelvis and had a 14” metal rod inserted into his left arm.  As recently as last summer, Papa Ruby worked with Sharon as an artist in residence at Roosevelt Middle School under Principal Joanne Rogers.

“Papa Ruby” was a great painter and that’s where I got all of my talent from!. His work ethic was to work hard, honest and always give more than expected… I will miss him dearly!” says Sharon Koskoff. “The art world has lost a true artist and I have lost a great father!

Funeral Services for Rubin Koskoff will be at Eternal Light Memorial Gardens Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.  June 11, 2013

Former Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill's Blog Entry upon Returning to Lake Worth

Click title for link to her blog.  Read the following out-loud in the overly-dramatic tone in which it is intended:
"This morning I was taking a walk to the beach and I crossed the bridge. Literally and figuratively. As I walked across the bridge, tears filled my eyes and I was overwhelmed by what I saw.  The building that I worked on so desperately to restore and renew and that had caused me so much pain was now complete.  It stood before me with confidence, glory and grace. It’s energy and vitality had been restored. I painstakingly participated in this building’s transformation, desperately fighting for it’s renewal, for its life. I watched this building be stripped to its core – to its foundation – with only a few pillars remaining before its restoration began.  Many times, I went to that building during its transformation and just stood there and cried."
I suggest she still be watched for hyper-Europeanization and extreme horizontalism, based on this.

And, today, we as a city, literally and figuratively, cry about all the loose ends and missed opportunities associated with the project.

City looking to privatize CRA; current director Briesemeister wants bid | West Palm Beat blog | The Palm Beach Post

More tinkering with West Palm Beach's CRA and economic development functions.  Click title for link. And it seems like an odd situation where the current director of the CRA would be allowed to have a company of hers involved in the operation of CRAs in other communities.  Coincidentally, I will have Raphael Clemente, who is the Executive Director of the West Palm Downtown Development Authority, as a guest on "High Noon in Lake Worth" this coming Friday (6/14).  We will see if he can help sort out what is going on this front.  By the way, Mr. Clemente was born and raised in Lake Worth and is also an avid bicyclist, so I am sure we will have a lot to talk about.

Critics: Reconsider eliminating Planning and Zoning Commission |

The Town of Palm Beach is having a tug-of-war over its Planning and Zoning Commission.  Their Council is divided over whether or not to keep the advisory board.  Seems like a repeat of some of the same issues when, a few LW Commissions ago, we had to keep beating back a takeover of the CRA by the City Commission.  But this is more about how the elected officials are not always experts in everything and should rely on others with broader experience or specific skills in helping to render decisions.  Click title for link.

Cerabino: Broward woman not horsing around when it comes to... |

Oh oh...Frank gets a hold of Ms. "Prancercize."  Click title for link.  This is from the article:
The interest over her self-published book, “Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence,” also exploded, at least in the rush of people who recently posted reviews on’s site. But a lot of these comments seem to come from jesters.
“I was prancercising and accidentally pranced my way onto a rock and sprained my ankle,” one reviewer wrote. “The doctor tried to shoot me! Stay away, unless you have strong legs.”
Another wrote: “I love prancercising but each time I leave the house my neighbors try jumping on my back. Oh well, at least they give me apples.”
In case you missed it, this is the YouTube video that as of time of this posting is at over 6 million views!

The article points out that had she turned on the "ad" feature on YouTube, she'd already be prancing on $100,000.