Saturday, August 31, 2013

Do you know where this is?

Submit your guesses as comments below. Answer soon.

Blast from the past: Lynn A- "Commissioner Jennings' top priority is the police."

Girl steals bike back from bike thief | Grist

Funny and cleaver way to retrieve stolen items. This story comes from Canada. Click title for link.

Aldi breaks ground on massive distribution center in Royal Palm |

Could the Park Avenue BBQ property become an Aldi's? Nothing firm in this article, but that would be a nice addition and the size of the property seems about right. Aldi is a German-based discount food store that many people like. I've been to one a couple times during my visits to Indiana. Click title for link.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Jeff Clemens: Why Charlie Crist needs people like me | Context Florida

This just in from our State Senator and former Mayor. The first line is key, but he makes some good points. Click title for link.

The lowdown on mid-rise residential buildings -

This article talks about mid-rise residential buildings around Chicago. And the article includes examples that top out at four stories, seven, eight and even nine stories. So maybe Carolyn can have her dogs and eat breakfast too? Click title for link.

Not for nothing, but Dr. Masters on today's High Noon in Lake Worth show pointed out that people in Miami may be forced to evacuate to HIGHER FLOORS in their buildings as a way to ride out hurricanes. He said that areas in Miami Beach could have the first and second floors inundated by storm surge. Hmmm.

Water Aerobics at the Lake Worth Pool

Bill and I jumped on our bikes this morning and rode to the beach in time for Sally Welsh's water aerobics class. It is Thursdays and Fridays, for now, at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays. The schedule may change and there is word that the pool will be open now through the next fiscal year...shhhh for now. But we may hear official word of that shortly from the city administration. Classes last almost an hour. We went in the ocean afterwards and then biked home. I'll let you know how sore I am tomorrow, but I do plan to go back this Sunday.

Emily Dickinson

"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.'

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jeffrey Masters, Ph.D. Director of Meteorology 08/30 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Weather Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes Dr. Jeffrey Masters to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Dr. Masters is Director of Meteorology for the Weather Underground. We will focus on hurricanes and their history in the Atlantic Ocean basin. We are approaching the peak time for hurricanes in our area. During the second half hour of the show, we will chat with south Floridians and their experiences with the various hurricanes that have visited our shores.

Click title for link to live show between noon and 1 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, 8/30) or for the archived show after it airs.

Business Seminar to be put on by the LW CRA 9/3

A few notes on Dixie Hwy.

I hope that you have had a chance to watch the videos from last Tuesday night's (8/27) CRA work session on the status of Dixie Hwy and the CRA and city's plans to encourage investment and redevelopment along this major arterial in Lake Worth and through other south Florida communities. Joan Oliva, Executive Director of the CRA and William Waters, the city's Director of Community Sustainability, did a good job of summarizing their efforts in helping turn things around along the corridor.

I'm not going to attempt to repeat everything that was said during the meeting, but it is important to remember a few things about Dixie Hwy. Lake Worth and other towns grew up along this road and in no small way owe their existence to it. Up until the early 1970s it was the only way to get north and south along the east coast of Florida. In many ways, you can think of it as America's Main Street. When the duty of handling long distance travel shifted to the new I-95, U.S. 1 turned to handling primarily local traffic. To a large degree, Lake Worth and other cities are still adjusting to that change more than 40 years later. That being said, the current business and building conditions found along the present-day Dixie Hwy were long in the making and will not be cured quickly.

However, there is hope. Mr. Waters pointed that we now have a set of land development regulations and that those regulations are going to make it easier for non-conforming uses and non-conforming buildings - much of the stock along Dixie Hwy. contains many examples of those - to be reused. There are issues with bringing up the buildings to "code" as it relates to the Florida Building Code. The value of the structures along the road are low enough that any investment in them usually requires bringing the whole building up to code - which can be a disincentive to redevelopment. Mr. Waters talked about having formal and informal gatherings and events where the city will promote the new LDRs to the real estate community, investors and professionals involved in the redevelopment business. There is also talk of workshops that would actually spotlight individual properties and present a "how to" or "see, you can do this" session which would show what can be done with some of these properties.

Parking is a concern, especially along the east side of Dixie Hwy, given the shallow depth of the lots. Shared use and temporary parking arrangements are being looked at and trouble-shooted. The changes in the LDRs make for smaller building footprints which may create more space for on-site parking in some instances.

We were also reminded at the meeting that Dixie Hwy is a long road and that is a challenge by itself. Just to best use the resources and money available, it might be best to focus on areas that already have something "going on" instead of areas that are clearly challenged. The CRA may select one, two, or three areas on which to focus their efforts. Different themes could be applied to different areas, as well. I mentioned the notion, as I often do, of a "Heritage Highway" designation that honors the importance of the road in relation to our city's historical development and this might be used by neighboring communities as well.

Commissioner Materio from West Palm Beach and owner of McMow Art Glass on Dixie Hwy in Lake Worth pointed out that our communities need to know what each other is doing along this road so that we can coordinate our efforts and avoid duplication. She talked about an exciting makeover of the Palm Coast Plaza in West Palm Beach that may become a mixed-use development. She also pointed out that the city of West Palm Beach owns the property immediately north of the C-51 canal, including the former I-Hop property. West Palm Beach, Lake Clark Shores and Lake Worth are looking into making that part of the canal navigable (which faces many stumbling blocks due to the water control structure just east of Dixie, but it is being worked on) in order to make the entire area more aesthetically appealing. One look at the back of the Arbor Plaza (north wall, south side of the canal) tells you that there is room for improvement.

The CRA will be working on a property inventory of the area along Dixie Hwy and has a signage/wayfinding plan which may help in this coming year's budget.

Add the imposition of higher utility fees than the surrounding commercial environment and that creates another impediment to reinvestment.

The moral of the story is that there are no easy fixes to the problem. They were long in the making and will take a while to correct. There are going to be down times, like now, for certain areas and we are just going to have to live through them. At some point, either the economy continues to improve, developable land in other communities becomes scarce and/or more expensive and then economics will lead people to Lake Worth. In the mean time, we may need to hold our breath for a while.

Friends of the Lake Worth Pool - September Membership Meeting

Dear Member of the Friends of the Lake Worth Pool,

The September Membership Meeting for the Friends of the Lake Worth Pool is:

Thursday, Sept 5th at 7 PM
South Shores Tavern & Patio Bar
502 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth Florida 33460

The Facebook Invite for the meeting is:

Look forward to seeing you there.

All the best,

Keiran O’Shay

David Silverman: New Jersey first denies but then gives in to man's request for 'Atheist' vanity plate | Mail Online

Another High Noon in Lake Worth guest making waves in New Jersey. Click title for link.

City Activist Fane Lozman Offers Reward: $50,000 for Information on Riviera Beach Officials

Two-time High Noon in Lake Worth guest ups the ante in his crusade to banish corruption in Riviera Beach. Click title for link. Also, check out the Palm Beach Sun.

More cool Lake Worth video!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Weather Service WEATHER FORECAST OFFICE Miami, Florida Memorial Web Page for the 1928 Hurricane

Click title for link and check out the Lake Worth pictures showing the aftermath of the storm.

More incredible aerial video...

This is shot flying over Bryant Park. Provided by James Stafford Photography.

Video of CRA Work Session (8/27) on Dixie Hwy. Redevelopment

Comments to come.

You will be pleased to know....

...that our former City Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill has resurfaced! This time she is Managing Director of Miami Tropical Plants. Of course, she is using her "international trade and business expertise" with her experience of being raised in the horticultural industry. As you can tell from the following text on the home page, she also is tapping in to her extensive geographic knowledge base by noting that the family's 45 acre farm is in Delray Beach "which is near Miami."
Next, you will also be pleased to know that the "Plant of the Week" is the Schefflera.

You may not realize this, but the Schefflera is one of Palm Beach County's nine prohibited invasive plant species. So it seems that our former City Commissioner found her passion selling and shipping invasive plants around the world. Good luck Suzanne!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"I Don't Feel Like Cooking Tonight"

Good news to report. This is the business that will be going where Tony's used to be at Columbia and Dixie. Click title for link.

Very Timely - CRA Work Session

The former Patio Coffee Shop - SE corner of Cornell and North Dixie

A bird's-eye-view of the north water tower being painted...

Courtesy James Stafford Photography.

Urban Dictionary: Maplewood

Is Lake Worth "Maplewood" now? Is Lake Worth on a path to be a "Maplewood?" Is Lake Worth ready to be a "Maplewood" ever? Does Lake Worth want to be a "Maplewood?" Discuss. Click title for a definition of the word from the Urban Dictionary.

About 4,000 blighted Detroit buildings being demolished with $52M in federal cash | Detroit Free Press |

Detroit has 78,000 vacant or abandoned buildings. Lake Worth has about 2,000. That is about 2.5% of Detroit's inventory. Lake Worth has 34,000 residents compared to Detroit's 750,000 (from a high of 1.4 million in 1950). As a ratio to population, Lake Worth has about one vacant or abandoned house per 17 residents; Detroit has one per every 10 residents. Click title for link to the Detroit Free Press article.

Part of the Lake Worth 2020 program includes money for the city to acquire and foreclose on structures that are part of that inventory.


Good news and bad news. Citizens Insurance, run by the state of Florida, wants to get out of the insurance business. Private insurers will be insuring properties again through this clearinghouse. Note that if the private rate is within 15% of the rate charged by Citizens, you will have to go with the private carrier. That rate is probably going to be 15% higher than Citizens, but you may have a choice of private companies. I am not optimistic. This may mean additional inspections, etc. By the way, my current annual premium with Citizens is $5,500 per year - with a full shutter system that to them is out-of-date and with a one gable roof that they say is more than 10 percent of the roof area.

Click title for article.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lights Out on N. Dixie

Up until 5 years ago, this was a favorite place for pizza. Since then it has been a revolving door. This is the strip commercial center  along the east side of Dixie, between Columbia and Cornell.

Soon to be dark. Their last day is next Tuesday (9/3). Get your ribs while you can.

Dark after 9/3.

A bay in the same commercial strip center  east side of Dixie, between Columbia and Cornell.



Empty, same strip center.
Been there a long time.

Vacant lot between Cornell and Dartmouth - used to be The Patio restaurant and other retail.

Dark as of 9/3

Same vacant lot - a full block east side of Dixie, between Cornell and Dartmouth.

Former cigar/beer/wine bar - closed for at least the past 6 months.

"The Bar" - formerly Ryan's and others- Dark since June

Soon to close and being replaced by a new one, with a drive-thru, north of the canal in West Palm Beach.

New West Palm Beach business

Cute and charming former "Pet Store" and other retail uses.

Facing northbound traffic.

The last two are other quality retailers.

EatBeat: PA BBQ to Close Lake Worth Store After 21 Years

TERRIBLE NEWS! You must read the entire article, click title for link. But this stands out:
Lavallee bought the building, a failing Denny’s, in 1991 and brought his version of barbecued ribs and chicken to Lake Worth. It’s remained a family favorite since, though the demographics of the area have changed since then – going downhill, he said. “It’s unfortunate, but that corridor of Dixie Highway to Forest Hill is just not coming up, he said.” An IHOP a few blocks north, another family draw for decades, also left the area.
His stores in Tequesta and West Palm Beach both have come out of the recession; the new outlet mall going in on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard is going to boost that store’s presence even more, he said.
“It’s going to be hard to look at loyal customers and say ‘bye – sorry, but we have to close.’ But we’re not the Post Office. We have to make money. It’s a business decision.”
The Denny's mentioned was closed for a long time before they bought it. I remember it being empty a while. Add this to the Dunkin' Donuts closing at Fordham and Dixie, an empty bar and many vacant lots. But, Carolyn and her dogs can still have breakfast on her porch.

The last day they are open will be next Tuesday (9/3).

Amazing aerial photos of Mexico City show that no natural boundaries stand in the way of endless suburban sprawl as homes cover mountain and valley in waves of houses as far as the eye can see | Mail Online

Check out these photos of suburban Mexico City - this is an extreme example of sprawl. Some think that development here in Lake Worth amounts to sprawl. Sprawl is defined as low density development that is primarily dependent on the automobile for its survival. Click title for link.

A tale of two piers: Juno or Lake Worth? Both offer fun for...

Nice article comparing the Juno Beach and Lake Worth piers. Click title for link.

Click here for a Sun Sentinel article on municipalities adopting social media

This is a timely article. Last Friday I was invited to be on a media panel held by the Palm Beach County City Manager's Association. It included Mark Easton of the Lake Worth Herald, Willie Howard and Andrew Marra of the Palm Beach Post. I was there representing the "new" media as a blogger. The event happened at our Casino ballroom. Our city manager, Michael Bornstein is the Vice President of the group this year and was the host of the retreat.

If you read the article, it talks about how Broward County municipalities are slow to adopt social media when getting a message out or to better interact with the public. There seems to be an issue with maintaining and archive of the postings on a site such as Facebook due to Florida's open records laws. But it looks like there are ways to do that which don't break the bank.

My message to this group of Palm Beach County city managers was that they need to be telling the story of their organization through a social media platform and not to rely on traditional media to do that job. I encouraged them to start slow and expand their municipalities' online presence over time. I suggested that each of them see if they could carve out five minutes a week to put together a regular series of YouTube videos on what is going on in their city, what's coming across their desk or what's next on the coming city commission agenda. The Post took a lot of heat about their editorial stands on some issues - like red light cameras and the inspector general.

Anyway, it was neat to be part of this panel and perhaps more Palm Beach County municipalities will be adopting and adapting various forms of social media - including Lake Worth.
That's Carey O'Donnell on the left, who served as moderator for the panel, Mark Easton, Yours Truly, Willie Howard and Andrew Marra. Those are cans of Spam Lite that were supplied by Mr. Bornstein as favors for being on the panel. Its meaning is enigmatic.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Video from yesterday's (8/24) City Commission Visioning Session

Above is a series of four videos that include the staff presentation of the draft Lake Worth 2020 Master Plan. This was taken before the break around 2 p.m. and does not include the public comment once the meeting reconvened.

I encourage you to listen to it all and refer to the presentation (link above) as you view the meeting.

This represents a major "catch up" project for the city's basic infrastructure, the Park of Commerce and the city's administrative and public buildings. We are likely to see a referendum item to allow the issuance of a general obligation bond to fund these improvements. There are various options that include more and more improvements and I am behind doing it all. I was glad to see that the conversion of the current city hall back to its original function as an auditorium was included as one of the projects.

I'll be talking more about some of the specifics as the week goes on. Watch the videos as an overview first. Enjoy!

Lawyer: West Palm Beach ‘civility code’ defensible, but could... |

West Palm Beach takes a stab at defining and maintaining civility in its Commission Meetings. Click title for link. From the article:
West Palm Beach ‘Civility Code’
Civility and decorum required. While the commission is in session, the members of the commission shall not, by conversation or otherwise, delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the commission and shall obey all orders of the commission or its presiding officer, except as otherwise provided. Displays of anger, rudeness, ridicule, impatience, lack of respect and personal attacks are strictly prohibited. The presiding officer shall preserve strict order, civility and decorum at all meetings.

The Lake Worth Beach looking south toward Lantana...

Happy Birthday Jim Stafford!

Is downtown Boynton Beach the next development hot spot? |

No mention of Lake Worth becoming the next development hot spot, so Carolyn and her dogs can continue to eat their breakfast on the porch, with only the sundial-like shadow of the beautiful Lake Worth Towers to interrupt the sun rays. Click title for link.