Saturday, December 14, 2013

More promotion by Discover Palm Beach County...

I hope this one doesn't see much airing. Pretty hinky.

Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition

The FBI is watching our EarthFirst! peeps. Click title for link to the PBCEC blog. From the most recent post regarding genetically engineered "forests":
The college administration as well as the FBI field office in Miami refused to comment on the incident, citing security protocols. But a Palm Beach State College student who had helped organize the event confirmed that Russell [Palm Beach State College provost, Dr. Bernadette Russell] had indeed called the students out of the classroom and relayed the warning.
“Basically, she just said that the FBI had contacted to her in the morning because of the GE tree presentation and because some of the organizers were from Earth First!,” Lily de la Espriella, a 20-year-old environmental studies major, told me. She said the provost told her that she should check with the administration before organizing such events in the future. “I’ve helped organize other Earth First! events on campus before, but this is the first time I was asked to seek special permission,” De la Espriella says.
And here is where EarthFirst! aligns itself with the Animal Liberation Front. They are almost a third of the way to their $30,000 fundraising goal, according to the "thermometer" in the upper right hand corner of their website.

No mention of Lake Worth or the Street Painting Festival in this Palm Beach County promo piece...

1959: Retailers Ring With Holiday Cheer

This clip from 1959 is good evidence that TV news reports analyzing holiday shopping trends are not exactly new. This report by WTVJ's Fred Mooke shows that half a century ago shopping reports were based on shoe-leather reporting rather than sales figures compiled by retail analysts.

And if the b-roll in this story is any indication holiday season sales were as familiar to Eisenhower-era shoppers as present-day ones.

This video and audio is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.

Rosow testifies he was acting as citizen in Playhouse lease... |

Sarcasm doesn't go over well in a courtroom. The lawsuit by the Shiny Sheet seeking to get e-mails released from the Town of Palm Beach, or one of its council members, continues. Click title for link. You can tell people are tiring of the issue. Rosow is the council member who was part of these communications. From the end of the article:
In testimony Friday, Reeder asked Rosow if other council members were appreciative of his efforts.
“There was major applause, lots of hugging and kissing and someone wanted to put up a statue of me,” Rosow said.

Friday, December 13, 2013

In and around the Cultural Plaza, downtown Lake Worth...


Ted Brownstein's Talk at the Lake Worth Public Library on his book "Pioneers of Jewell"

The book is available in soft and hardcover editions at the library and at city hall. Profits from the sale of the book go to the Lake Worth Public Library. His talk here totals a little over one hour.

Mural on view at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple

The Gray Mocking Bird Community Garden tile mural will be on display another three weeks at the Scottish Rite Temple, southeast corner of Worthmore Avenue and North D Street. Here are some pictures of the work that I took yesterday. The final picture has some familiar faces that were involved in the creation of the mural. Thanks to Jill Karlin for the opportunity to snag these for the blog.

Coming up Monday, 2 p.m. Room 10E of the Palm Beach County Courthouse

Remember this?

Case Description
Case ID:  502013CA012420XXXXMB
Division:  AJ - MARX
Filing Date:  Monday , August 05th, 2013
Location:  MB - MAIN BRANCH
Jury:  N-Non Jury
Status:  PE - PENDING

Well, a hearing in front of Judge Joseph Marx will take place at 2 p.m. Monday, December 16th in Courtroom 10E of the Palm Beach County Courthouse. This is to address the writ that was filed by Laurel Decker to force the city to recognize the results of the March 2013 election regarding height in the downtown. I plan on attending to monitor the goings-on. E-mail me if you would like to attend and we can rideshare, perhaps taking in lunch somewhere in downtown West Palm Beach.

The city has filed a motion to dismiss. Among the Clerk of the Court website listing for this case is this:

Filing Date:05-AUG-2013
Disposition Amount:
Docket Text:A Payment of -$401.00 was made on receipt CAMB809997.

A payment was made by the leader of the Respectful Heights PAC to file the case on August 5th. We have to assume it was drawn using her own resources, as the PAC's termination report was filed in July. The remaining amount in their account was given to the Lake Worth High School Band. A land use attorney is also being used which would mean there would be an in-kind contribution to the cause, if that attorney were working for free. It would also be limited to $500, I believe. If that attorney is not working for free, then the money is coming from somewhere to mount this legal charge against the city and pay that attorney's fees. Perhaps the leader of the closed-out PAC has more resources than her modest manse at 519 North D Street would indicate? Perhaps not. And that is why it is important to know where the money is coming from. I doubt that Carolyn Deli's dogs have the resources either, although they were heavily impacted by the decision to abide by HB 537. The city is incurring a cost to defend this action. The public simply must know the source of funds behind this effort.

I'll let you know what happens.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don't waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.”

Fight against Everglades invaders gets boost - Sun Sentinel

Scientists are turning to moths to help control the spread of the Old World Climbing Fern that is choking out other plants in the northern part of the Everglades. Click title for link. From the article:
Australian pines, Brazilian pepper trees and melaleuca trees have long been the biggest exotic plant threats to South Florida's natural areas. Now Old World Climbing Fern is becoming a growing nuisance to the native habitat within the wildlife refuge, considered the northern remnants of the Everglades.
The climbing fern, with fronds capable of growing 100 feet long, can smother trees and bushes — choking off breeding and feeding grounds vital to wildlife survival.

Negotiations fail; hearing set to resolve status of Rosow... |

Looks like this public records request matter in the Town of Palm Beach is headed to court. Click title for link. From the article (Rosow is on the Town Council):
Rosow denied an Aug. 13 public records request by the Daily News, seeking emails he wrote or received from Sterling and the National Arts Institute which, at the time, was in lease negotiations for the site.
Rosow and the town have asserted that the emails should remain private because Rosow was acting as a neutral “mediator” in the lease negotiations between Sterling and NAI. Sterling has asserted that the emails contain “trade secrets” that should remain private.
The Daily News maintains the emails are public records, that the mediation statute does not apply in this case, and that the documents should be released after any valid trade secrets are redacted.

Saintpetersblog out from Fla Press Assoc | Tampa Bay Times

This blog mentioned in the article will continue, but the creator will not be part of what amounts to a journalist's guild. Click title for link to article. You'll find that after he joined this organization, an article critical of his practices came out. For my part, I do not offer advertisement space, other than for local community-related events.
The article, which Schorsch has described on his blog as a "hatchet job," claimed Schorsch pressured at least five people involved in Tampa Bay-area politics to purchase ad space in exchange for positive stories or to delete previously posted negative posts.

Seminole couple hit with $44,000 flood insurance premium | Tampa Bay Times

I am afraid for real estate agents it's going to come down to what you knew when. There certainly has to be some disclosure about flood insurance rates from now on. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
Six weeks ago, they got the new numbers: the Greenwoods' $4,300 annual flood insurance premium would increase by about 900 percent. When their policy comes due next July, they will owe the federal government nearly $44,000, the highest documented flood insurance premium in Pinellas County.
"How could that even be possible?" Aaron Greenwood, 43, wondered at the time.
The explanation lies in the Biggert-Waters act, which was passed to stabilize the debt-plagued national flood insurance program by eliminating subsidies and raising rates. The law has turned places such as Pinellas into a battleground over whether the new rates are fair.

Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Honorary ASLA Principal, Speck & Associates 12/13 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes noted urban planner Jeff Speck to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Mr. Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design.  As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, Mr. Speck created the Governors' Institute on Community Design.  He is the co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, which the Wall Street Journal calls "the urbanist's bible.”  His recent book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time –which the Christian Science Monitor called “timely and important, a delightful, insightful, irreverent work” –is exerting a profound impact on the design of communities nationwide.

Click title for link to live show between 12 and 12:30 p.m. today (12/13) or for the archived version after the show airs. Leave comments as questions below.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tonight! 7 p.m. Lake Worth Public Library

Happy Holidays from Lake Worth's Fab Five!

New flood maps raise alarms about higher insurance costs - Sun Sentinel

This is the first I have heard the exact deadline extension date of February 28th. The previous deadline was November 30th. Click title for link to the Sun-Sentinel article.
Federal emergency managers have agreed to extend the deadline for submitting information until Feb. 28, which will be followed by a lengthy review and appeals process, in effect delaying new maps from taking effect for many months, possibly beyond next year.
The delay brings temporary relief to homeowners who claim their properties should not be designated as risky because they have never flooded -- even after tropical storms and heavy rains.

Lake Worth’s John Azzaro is an old-fashioned entertainer with... |

Nice story in the Post about the puppeteer in front of Studio 205 on Lake Avenue Friday nights. Click title for link:
Dressed in white pants and a tank top with sandals on his feet and a red bandanna on his head, Azzaro — all 5 feet of him — does indeed resemble a (bleeping) wizard. Some fans like to joke that he looks a lot like one of the animal, bird and clown puppets that he makes from scratch out of old newspaper or tissue.
“He’s our little gnome. He’s the puppet man,’’ said Andy Amoroso, a Lake Worth city commissioner who hosts the puppet shows on the stoop of the gift shop he owns, Studio 205.

Scientists Map Vast Reserves Of Freshwater Under The Seabed : The Two-Way : NPR

Off-shore drilling...for freshwater? Click title for link.  From the article:
Two-thirds of the world's population will be living under water stress conditions by 2025, according to estimates by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. In particular, coastal regions of the U.S., South America, the southern parts of Africa, Europe and Australia could see their water supply drop by 20 percent or more by 2050, according to the United Nations Environmental Program.

Festivus For The Rest Of Us! Florida Atheist Successfully Puts Up Beer Can Pole Display

Associated Press story on the Festivus pole at the State Capitol - click title for link. From the end of the article:
At the Florida Capitol last week, several dozen people gathered for the Nativity celebration, including a children's choir. The only people there for the Festivus pole installation were media and Pam Olsen, who organized the Nativity scene.
"I believe in prayer and you know what? I've been praying for you. I mean that sincerely, Chaz," Olsen said. "As a Christian, I have the Nativity because it's Christ in Christmas. And you have the right to have the beer cans here."
Stevens laughed. A theological discussion followed, with Olsen talking about her faith and Stevens saying Jesus might as well be Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
"You know what I'm praying for next year? I'm going to pray that they get rid of that thing," Stevens said, gesturing to the manger scene.

From State Representative Mark Pafford's Facebook Page

Chaz Steven's Festivus Pole in the State Capitol rotunda (right).

Sweet traditions at Hoffman’s Chocolate to stay, despite... |

A friendly buyout of a long-time local business by a publicly traded company is nothing to worry about. There are those in our community that occasionally pine for a downtown full of "mom and pop" shops. But where do you draw the line? And what would be the unintended consequences of such a regulation? Hoffman's recently re-opened a store in downtown Lake Worth. With this act, nothing is changing other than the corporate structure, which may funnel more resources to stores. I have always maintained that it is best to have a mix of corporate "chain" stores and traditional "mom and pops." Chain stores have more money for promotion, likely can staff a store during normal business hours and have an identity that can draw people into your downtown. People who want only locally-owned stores have a romantic notion, but it is short on practicality. Click title for link.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ambassador Bruce Oreck...a different take on the elder statesman...

This is the 2012 version of the Holiday greeting from the U.S. Ambassador to Finland. It started a bit of conversation. He is a former body builder.

This Saturday!

"To Jeer and Gloat, May Not Be Nice, I'll Take the Sun - You Take the Ice."

Postcard collection - title is inscription on reverse. State Archives of Florida.

According to the meteorologists at Channel 5, the last 40 days in West Palm Beach have been the 5th warmest on record. November 1 through now has been an average of 75.8 degrees.

Lake Worth Park of Commerce, Boutwell Road Improvements - Discussion from the Commission's 12/3/13 meeting

The three videos that are part of this playlist total over an hour. I would recommend listening or watching all three. It relates to the city getting things going with the Park of Commerce and some of the complexities involved with that process. The city holds out the Park of Commerce as the best bet for future economic development, tax base increases and job opportunities. It is part of making good of the promises that were made ten or more years ago with Palm Beach County, the property owners and city residents at the time of annexation of most of this land.

The City Commission voted to continue this discussion to a "date uncertain" in January of 2014 on both these items concerning contracts with Matthews Consulting ($349,930) and Mock-Roos Engineering ($644,120). They were rightly concerned that such things as deliverables, schedules and progress be easily communicated with residents and to make sure what we are getting for the money over a 30 month period. I won't go into all of the details here or this post would extend for about three hundred feet, but this is what is needed to get "shovel ready" projects in place for this important strategic city economic asset.

The general work items for Matthews Consulting is as follows for owner representation:
This is the basic engineering services that would be performed by Mock-Roos:
One reason that this discussion is important to listen is the recognition by the City Commission, and by the two residents who spoke on the item, that the city has to be accountable for every dollar of the money that it spends. We can't have "another" situation (as Commissioner Szerdi refers to it) where mistakes are made and the onus is on the city to pay for mistakes made by others. What other situation could everyone be talking about? The BEACH! Kudos to this Commission for being so careful and wanting to be so specific on what amounts to a $1 million investment in the city's future.

Let's touch on the beach for a moment. The previous administration tried to convince the public that Morganti, the engineers and architects were working in the "best interest of the city" and that there was no need for oversight by the city or some unique third party looking out for the interests of the city. WRONG! Still unresolved are serious design and construction issues at the beach. The unique aspect of this conversation is that it is being made in the shadow of the beach project and it is clear that no one wants to make the same mistakes going forward. The Mayor stated that she didn't want to have future commissions saddled with the mistakes made by this Commission. They have to do it right.

So, even though it is lengthy, it will do much for your peace of mind if you listen to the entire discussion. It is clear that the adults are finally in charge.

Lastly, concerning this particular proposed owner's representative contract, it was surprising that Matthews was not present to answer or respond to the City Commission's questions or concerns about his contract. Vice-Mayor Maxwell made the point that you would expect to have someone there from a company that was up for a $350,000 contract. This is especially the case when that contract is for being the representative of the people approving your contract on such a strategically important project. Let's hope that Matthew's gets the message and shows up at the next meeting when discussion on these contracts resumes. As for Mock-Roos, they still seem to be the one that is first in line for the city's engineering work. Maybe this reflects a little indigestion from the work by Kimley-Horn on the beach?

And, by the way, it is time to have a full meeting/status report on the beach and casino building project punch list.

Happy Holidays from U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck

Recognizing Lake Worth's Finnish connection, I thought there would be interest in this holiday message from the Finnish Ambassador. I'll have to look for what he sent out last year for a message.

Issues with parking spaces, prices ends Boynton CRA’s bid to... |

One of the reasons to have a CRA is its ability to leverage a small public investment as a catalyst for a larger project. Here, Boynton's CRA tried to do with that with a small, but strategic parcel, that would have been tied to a larger project and the CRA would provide for the public facility (parking) to support the project. In this example, the equation just did not work for all parties at the table. A CRA's chief aim is the reduction/elimination of slum and blight conditions within its boundaries. Click title for link to article.

Bill would exempt state review of larger developments in 6 more counties | The Florida Current

During the halcyon days of growth management in Florida, there was a threshold for larger projects afterwhich they became Developments of Regional Impact (DRI). There was a formula used to determine the mix of uses, amount of land, number of units of residential and square footage and location. If your project went over some or all of those criteria, then it became a DRI. This required more intense state review, through the Department of Community Affairs, and could be long and cumbersome process. Many downtown redevelopment plans ended up being DRIs - downtown Boca Raton being one and Downtown/Uptown in West Palm Beach (what became City Place).

Well, most of the state review is dismantled now and the DRI is going the way of the dinosaur so that "local communities can better determine their futures" and so that the state "doesn't unnecessarily hold  back the private sector." This we now see evidence of in the creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity. The bill discussed in the article would create more exemptions from DRI requirements for more counties that may be outside more "urbanized" areas. Click title for link.

This is a trend that I don't see retreating.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cerabino: Beer-can Festivus pole makes season bright for atheist |

Cerabino on Chaz Stevens and his Festivus Pole. Read on. Click title for link.

New breed of buses draws Thanksgiving travelers

Forget Greyhound buses of old.
New buses are now running from major cities with all the amenities: Wi-Fi, individual plug-in power at your seats, comfortable seating and pricing through on-line services. is one such service. The nearest station in Florida is Orlando. Click title for link to story.

Now Airing...

Royal Poinciana zoning plan may go to voters |

Perhaps this is how they are getting around HB 537. That is the state legislation that put the kabosh on attempts to change provisions of a comprehensive plan or development order. The same state legislation made "null and void" the yes vote on height limitations in March of this year here in Lake Worth. This addresses the point, I think. Click title for link to the Shiny Sheet article.
The Neighborhood Alliance and the Palm Beach Preservation Alliance began the petition drive Nov. 13, the day the Town Council voted to adopt zoning and comprehensive plan amendments to pass the zoning measure. Under town law, zoning changes such as the PUD-5 do not take effect for 30 days after passage to allow time for a petition drive for a voter referendum.-before-voters.

Quiet zone costs partially met |

Some shuffling around of monies by the MPO to provide for quiet zones along the FEC (eastern) tracks to accommodate the All Aboard Florida and Coastal Link passenger train services. It seems like the money is going to come from somewhere, and not necessarily from the cities. Click title for link. From the article:
The MPO took two steps Monday toward funding both projects.
The board agreed to send a letter to Gov. Rick Scott asking that the state pick up the cost of the quiet zones, relieving the municipalities of that cost.
And board members agreed to move the Coastal Link project into project development phase, meaning it is eligible for federal funding and will start conducting public forums. Broward and Miami-Dade MPOs also will vote this week.
Mayor Triolo represents Lake Worth on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). 

Channel 12 news anchor presses charges against man for... |

Be careful to who and what you tweet about. This was done to mock the usual "teases" that prompt people to "tune in at 11." It seems that both parties went a little too far here. Click title for link.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Exclusive from Chaz Stevens...

This year's pole:

Last year's pole as installed in Deerfield Beach:

‘Festivus’ pole to join Christian nativity, Jewish menorah in... |

Chaz Stevens in the Palm Beach Post, from the News Service of Florida. Click title for link.

Instructional video of how the Netherlands evolved to be a bike-friendly country...again...

Click here for an article on how cycling makes you happier.

Chaz Stevens' display at the capitol mentioned in Florida Public Radio spot...

Chaz is a frequent guest on High Noon in Lake Worth.

Cellphone towers sought for Fort Lauderdale - Sun Sentinel

Sounds like an idea worth looking into. Sometimes new technologies scare bureaucrats and there seems to be an issue regarding "future" installation of sidewalks in the right-of-way. And the one thing that leapt out of the article for me was that our former assistant City Attorney, Melissa Anderson, is representing the interests of the cellphone company, something she left the city to do as a new career opportunity. Good luck Melissa! Click title for link to article.

‘Great opportunity’ lowers Lake Worth Lagoon restoration costs |

The project described here is on the eastern side of the lagoon (Intracoastal), by the Palm Beach Par 3 golf course. Over 12 acres will be enhanced with seagrass and mangrove beds, but will need additional sand that happens to be available from another project at the Boynton Inlet. All this is being done in the hopes of improving water quality in the lagoon. Click title for link to the Shiny Sheet article.

Winter Park withheld report on historic preservation - Orlando Sentinel

I have heard a lot about Winter Park and a spate of demolitions of historic resources. It is generating some concern by the public and how and why these requests are being handled in a panicked response. And, in Florida, we have our public records law where a draft of a report - if it breaches the threshold of any public official's office - it is part of the public record and should be readily available when requested. That's not what is happening in Winter Park. Click title for link. From the article:
 I requested Bland's report from Lindsey Hayes, a senior city planner, and city spokeswoman Clarissa Howard, on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Hayes wrote in an email that the city "does not have an advanced copy of Thursday's presentation."
"So you're telling me he hasn't submitted a draft or anything else to the city?" I asked in an email.
Again I was told that Bland had not yet submitted a report to the city.
That seemed unlikely, so I requested the correspondence between Bland and City Hall staffers.
This week the city provided those records (in the way public-records access should work).
According to those emails, Bland sent over a draft report on the morning of Nov. 5, more than a week before I asked for a copy. "Draft" was written in the subject line.
Florida law says that the public is entitled to review draft reports, not just final products.

Federal Flood Maps Left New York Unprepared For Sandy -- And FEMA Knew It

This doesn't say a lot for the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal government, as if we needed any reminders. Revisions to flood maps can have major implications and we are finding that out in Florida as well. Click title for link to article. Here is an example of the extent of distortion between reality and what the "old" maps showed.
When FEMA finally released a preliminary version of those maps this January they showed that the number of city structures considered at high risk of flooding had doubled. More than 35,000 additional homes and businesses were added to the map’s riskiest zones, according to a study by New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Some 9,503 of those buildings suffered damaged during Sandy, a ProPublica analysis of flood maps shows.
FEMA did not respond to specific questions about the adequacy of its flood maps or glitches in the modernization process. Bill McDonnell, the deputy director for mitigation for FEMA’s Region II, acknowledged that no new data had been collected to update maps for New York or New Jersey in the mid-2000s. In a statement, the agency said it began giving priority to map updates for “high-risk, coastal areas” in 2009. These included 14 counties in New Jersey and New York City. The agency said it continues to work with state and local officials to “incorporate the best available data into maps.’’

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Got my daddy's rifle"

"Elle Purv" as of July 9th on Facebook. It seems that she has changed her name on FB since then. Wonder why?

Coming up tomorrow night (12/9)...Commissioner Amoroso's Fundraiser

Click here for a link to last Friday's (9/6) High Noon in Lake Worth radio show. Commissioner Amoroso was a guest for the first 20 minutes. Check out Ted Brownstein's chat too, immediately following.

Pics from today's bike ride...

We've seen this sign (above) for the past few days. It is the one that replaced the Park Avenue Barbeque sign. We actually went in yesterday to shop for shoes and parked in this "auxiliary" parking area. We helped a woman in her attempt to move her cart between the two properties. There is no curb cut or barrier-free access to allow carts to go in the "new" parking lot. You actually have to lift a cart over a curb and a wheel stop.
These pics show progress on the murals at Tuppen's. These were approved at the 12/3 City Commission meeting.

Pics from "Art at the Eco" event 12/7/13