Saturday, December 28, 2013

Citi Bikes Will Power the 2014 Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop! | Inhabitat New York City

Keep this in mind when you watch the New Year's Eve festivities in Time Square. New York has found a "green" way to use their blue Citi-bikes to power the ball drop. Click title for link to article. Check this out:
Riders that want to get a head start on burning those holiday calories and powering the New Year’s Eve ball can do so beginning on Saturday, December 28th at 1 p.m. and continue pedalling (although you probably want to take some kind of break) until December 30th. Each Citi Bike Pedal Power Station will be connected to a 12-volt deep cycle battery. Riders can generate a max of 75 watts per hour of kinetic energy that the station will collect and store in the batteries until it’s transferred to the New York City power grid on the big day.

Developer pays $128 million for Palm Beach Gardens property |

Progress being made on development of the Briger Tract, which won't make our local EF! folks happy. I am sure they will continue their fight to block development of this parcel. Their current plan of attack is to point out that the endangered Blue Indigo snake finds this property as a prime habitat. The article details the recent sale of over 600 acres by Kolter Group. It is the largest dollar value sale of real estate in Palm Beach County this year. Here are some others. Click title for link to article.
Big real estate deals return
Pricey deals in 2013:
$127.5 million: Kolter Group bought the Briger tract in Palm Beach Gardens.
$83.5 million: Toll Brothers bought 124 acres west of Boca Raton in December.
$71 million: The Esperante Corporate Center in downtown West Palm Beach got a new landlord in December.
$69.1 million: An apartment complex in Delray Beach sold in February.
$63.1 million: An apartment complex west of Boca Raton changed hands in March.
$59.2 million: An apartment complex in Boynton Beach sold in March.
$52 million: Howard Stern bought an oceanfront manse in Palm Beach in May.
$51 million: Minto Communities bought Callery-Judge Grove, an unincorporated area along Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in September.
$49.5 million: The Bethesda Health City offices west of Boynton Beach were sold to a new landlord.

Leaders betting lots on upcoming SunRail launch | Tallahassee Democrat |

Central Florida is about to get something akin to Tri-Rail, this time to help ease traffic congestion along the heavily used I-4 corridor. Future phases will be limited until additional federal funding is assured, but the first phase will be rolling out soon. Click title for link. From the article:
Currently, tens of thousands of commuters and tourists cram a few main highways and roads in the popular, fast-growing area. The first phase — 12 stations from Debary in Volusia County through downtown Orlando to Sand Lake Road in Orange County — will be the ultimate viability test case for an area that has never had this kind of transportation alternative before. And with promised federal money for the second phase suspended in Washington budget limbo, the success or failure of SunRail’s initial stage will garner an even brighter spotlight.
“This is a dramatic evolution step for central Florida. It’s the first time we’re building a fixed transit system — a regional one — with the ability of being able to connect into high-speed (rail),” said U.S. Rep. John Mica, a Republican from Winter Park and a member of the House Transportation Committee.


Interesting news out of Chicago about a possible bicycle tax to create an additional revenue stream. It doesn't sound like it is going too far there, but there are other cities and states mentioned that have a bicycle registration or licensing program. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made bike lanes and bike programs a signature issue, believing it makes downtown an attractive place for bright young people and innovative companies. More bikes means less pollution, less traffic congestion, practically zero wear and tear on the city's roads and a healthier population.
Nevertheless, the idea that cyclists aren't paying their fair share has resonated. But many bike riders are also car owners who pay the fuel tax that helps fund highway construction, or home owners who pay property taxes, which go partly toward road construction.
If you go to and look up Lake Worth's Code of Ordinances, you will find Chapter 8 which is titled "Bicycles." The following section appears under that chapter that provides for the City of Lake Worth to run a bike licensing and inspection program. This language was added to the code in 1956. Somewhere along the line, I guess the decision was made that administering the program cost more money than it brought in. If the City Commission isn't serious about this concept, it really should be taken off the books.

Sec. 8-1. Defined.permanent link to this piece of content

"Bicycle," as used in this chapter, shall mean any device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels either of which is twenty (20) inches or more in diameter, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two (2) front or two (2) rear wheels.

(Code 1956, § 9-1)
State law reference— "Bicycle" defined, F.S. § 316.002.

Sec. 8-2. License required.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or use a bicycle upon the streets, avenues, alleys or other traffic areas or ways used either for vehicular traffic, without first having obtained a city license for such bicycle as provided by this chapter.

(Code 1956, § 9-2)
Sec. 8-3. License issuance; duration.permanent link to this piece of content

The city shall issue, upon written application, to residents of the city, a bicycle license, which license when issued shall entitle the licensee to operate such bicycle or bicycles for which said license shall have been issued, upon all the streets and public highways of the city. Said license when so issued shall be permanent for the life of the vehicle so licensed.

(Code 1956, § 9-3)
Sec. 8-4. License plate, registration certificate, license fee.permanent link to this piece of content

The city shall provide an appropriate license plate, together with registration certificate cards, that shall have numbers stamped thereon in numerical order, beginning with number one, and shall indicate that they were issued by the City of Lake Worth. The license plate shall be suitable for attachment to the lower end of the rear fender, at the rear of the bicycle at a location where it will always be plainly visible. The licensing authority may supervise its attachment in such manner as will prevent its removal. The city shall also provide and issue a registration card with numbers corresponding to the numbers on the license plate. The issuance of the registration card and the license plate to the licensee shall be after collection of the registration fee of one dollar ($1.00) for the license. Funds collected for the licenses provided for in this chapter shall be paid, as collected, to the city finance director or his designated agent. The license plate shall remain attached to the bicycle or bicycles during the valid term of such license. The licensing authority shall keep a record of the date of each license.

(Code 1956, § 9-4; Ord. No. 80-9, § 11, 6-16-80)
Sec. 8-5. Report of sale or transfer.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be the duty of any person who sells or transfers ownership of any bicycle to report such sale or transfer by returning to the licensing authority, the registration card issued to such person as licensee thereof, together with the name of the person and his or her address, to whom the bicycle was sold or transferred, and such report shall be made within two (2) days of the date of sale or transfer thereof.

(Code 1956, § 9-5)
Sec. 8-6. Damaging, tampering with plate, registration; stamping of frame.permanent link to this piece of content

It shall be unlawful for any person to wilfully or maliciously remove, destroy, mutilate or alter the number of any bicycle frame licensed, pursuant to this chapter. It shall also be unlawful for any person to remove, destroy, mutilate, or alter any license plate, seal or registration card which is operative; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the licensing authority from stamping on the frame of bicycles on which no serial number can be found, or on which said number is illegible, for identification purposes. The licensing authority may also stamp upon the frame of any bicycle registered a number which shall be the secret number of the licensing authority, if so required, in the administration of this chapter, to prevent bicycle larceny and recover stolen bikes.

(Code 1956, § 9-6)
Sec. 8-7. Operation.permanent link to this piece of content

The following rules and regulations shall be observed in the operation of a bicycle on the streets and public places of the city:

(a) Every person operating a bicycle shall at all times operate said bicycle with due regard for the safety of other persons and vehicles lawfully upon the streets, highways, parkways, and public places; as well as for his own or her safety, and shall at all times and under all conditions yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on the streets, highways, parkways, public places and crosswalks.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon any railway platform or pedestrian way within the city.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon or across any railway tracks within the corporate limits of the city save and except upon streets where a railway crossing is provided, and open to traffic.
(Code 1956, § 9-7)
Sec. 8-8. Inspection authorized; examination of qualifications of applicants for license.permanent link to this piece of content

The chief of police, or his designated representative, may inspect each bicycle offered for licensing, and may also examine the riding qualifications of the applicant as to his or her knowledge of the vehicle traffic laws of the state applying to bicycles, traffic signals and signs, and if the applicant's riding qualifications, knowledge of the vehicle laws of the state applying to bicycles, and the bicycle safe riding rules and regulations, and the official police instructions for the safe operation of a bicycle, are not satisfactory, or the bicycle is not in good ridable condition and properly equipped, as provided for in this chapter, a license for the applicant's bicycle must not be issued.

(Code 1956, § 9-9)
Secs. 8-9—8-19. Reserved.

Super reefs - Local News - The Star, Port St. Joe

A new type of "super reef" is being deployed in the Gulf of Mexico that will attract a greater variety of fish, including those that prefer upper water reefs. This has been in the works for a while and is done in association with the Fish and Wildlife Commission. No mention of whether or not it would work off our shores on the Atlantic side of the state. Click title for link.

South Palm Park: Affordability near the water |

Nice spotlight article by Emily Minor on one of our historic neighborhoods, South Palm Park. You'll find many familiar names splashed through the piece. It's good, positive press that expresses some of the best attributes of living in Lake Worth. Click title for link.

Council president won’t seek fourth term |

The Shiny Sheet's take on Town Council President David Rosow announcement that he will not seek another term. I find it interesting that the article notes that the letter posted here was sent to "fellow residents." He must have used the town's blast e-mail list, which would explain why I received the announcement. Click title for link. Here is some veiled speculation as to why he is not running. Townsend has announced she is running for the seat.
Rosow’s ongoing legal dispute with the Palm Beach Daily News, over the newspaper’s request to view written records of his involvement in helping to facilitate lease negotiations for the Royal Poinciana Playhouse, was also not mentioned in his letter.
In the interview, Rosow said his decision not to run was had nothing to do with the legal case, or with the prospect of having to run a campaign against Townsend.
Townsend said Friday she had not heard from Rosow about his decision not to run.
“I would thank anyone who has given service to the town, and respect Mr. Rosow’s decision, whatever it is,” she said. “I am grateful for what he has contributed."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Town of Palm Beach Council Member David Rosow will not seek another term...

David A Rosow

Dear Fellow Residents,

When I ran for election for the Town Council in 2008 I made several promises:  
            To work diligently on the finances of the Town
            To make intelligent decisions with respect to Planning & Zoning issues
            To put sand on our beaches

Let’s examine the record of those six years.

Property taxes for the Fiscal Year of 2008 (which was established before I joined the Council) were $40.7 million and the budget was $64.3 million.  For 2013 Property taxes will total $38.6 million and the budget is $65.4 million.  And for the past five years the Town’s mill rate has not been raised.
In 2008 I asked the Council to do a complete review of our benefits package and that process was done in a slow and deliberate pace over four years. During the period between 2009 and 2020, as a result of the Council’s pension reform, residents’ taxes for Pension benefits will be reduced from a projected $116 million to $52 million, a savings of $64 million.  Pension benefits were estimated to be $12.5 million for this fiscal year.  Instead they are $6.5 million.  While other cities in our nation are struggling with the costs of their pension obligations, our Town was proactive and fair.

During my first campaign I stated that  the Town’s Reserve Funds were over funded and now we are carefully using excess reserves to fund beach projects, and the burial of overhead power lines, which although paid for by the affected individual residents, are being financed over 10 years, at an advantageous rate to the residents.  We also use the excess for various other capital programs, with internal repayments with interest.  This is less expensive than borrowing money from a bank or raising taxes.

In 2008 the Town paid for capital expenditures, irrespective of their life expectancy, by taxation each year, commonly referred to as PayGo.  Property taxes could therefore fluctuate widely.  I argued for using long-term debt so that current residents wouldn’t be financing improvements that will outlast their time in Palm
Beach.  We now use long-term debt to spread out the cost of those long life projects, and the savings estimated by our Finance Department by issuing bonds three years ago rather than taxing residents is $9 million.  The Town has maintained its AAA rating and again issued additional bonds last month, which will lead to more savings.  As a result, our Capital projects program has been accelerated and the first phase came in on time and under budget.

During this six-year period (FY2008-FY2014) the Council has not reduced any services to the residents.   The Town is now operating with staffing at 1997 levels, all managed without any layoffs.

The Council members reinstated the Shore Protection Board and I suggested to fund its program with the money the Town received from DOT for the land to rebuild the North Bridge not through additional taxes.  However I agreed to reestablish the Shore Board on the basis that Woods Hole Group, the most notable experts on sand and sand movement, do a peer review of any recommendations from the Shore Board, and take into consideration information other experts provided.

In the Planning & Zoning area, I have consistently tried to reach compromises between neighbors and make decisions for Variance and Special Exceptions using common sense and the interests of the community.  I voted for the PUD5 plan, because, after 11 months of study by a prestigious committee of residents, the Committee overwhelmingly recommended it, with only one dissenting vote, and the opponents did not offer anything other than the status quo.  To preserve Royal Poinciana Way some compromises are necessary otherwise current zoning will lead to the eventual demolition of all the buildings on Royal Poinciana Way.   The street has changed considerably over the years and let us not forget that Worth Avenue was once a residential street and no one regrets that change.

During these years I listened to all residents, worked to insure their safety and watched their pocketbooks.
The past six years have been wonderful and Jeanne and I have enjoyed meeting and knowing so many residents whose paths we would never have crossed. In these six years, I believe I met the goals I outlined when I ran and achieved the objectives I presented to the Council when I was elected President.  Six years takes a toll on family and friends and therefore, after consulting with my family, we have decided that I will not seek a fourth term.  

I will miss the collaboration I enjoyed with our outstanding Town Manager Peter Elwell and his excellent Department Directors along with all the wonderful employees I have had the privilege to work with.  I also want to thank the Mayor and my fellow Council Members for the honor of working with them on behalf of all the residents of our wonderful town. 


Iconic airboats won’t be part of Everglades culture for much longer - Miami-Dade -

An important part of "Gladesmen Culture" will eventually die along with the long time operators of airboats in the Everglades. New licenses are not going to be issued and mechanized travel, including bikes, will not be allowed in large portions of the park. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
But maybe not for much longer. The three Gladesmen — all longtime members of the airboat Association of Florida ranging in age from 60 to 72 — will be among the last private airboaters to operate in the vast marsh south of Tamiami Trail if officials at Everglades National Park get their way.
The park’s proposed general management plan for the next 15 to 20 years calls for an end to all private airboating in the East Everglades once the “grandfathers” who operate there now have died. The region was added to the national park in 1989, and whoever can prove he or she had a registered airboat in Miami-Dade County back then could obtain a non-transferrable, non-renewable permit to operate on designated trails only for the remainder of their lives. Park officials estimate 1,000 to 2,000 airboaters would be affected.

Ten Best Waterfront Restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

According to New Times, no Lake Worth establishments made the list. Click title for link. Have you been to any of their top ten?

Port Strategy - Chanting a mantra

Great article on the east coast frenzy to expand and deepen port facilities as the Panama Canal is widened. But it may not turn into the economic punch that everyone seems to expect. This jives with noted Florida economist Bill Stronge's view that port expansion here will not mean much to the big picture, which is contrary to Governor Scott's view of the future. Click here to listen to the episode of High Noon in Lake Worth when I hosted Dr. Stronge as a guest. Click title for link to article, here are the last two paragraphs.
Florida is pushing to become the most important state in the country for maritime business, with its governor as one of the main proponents. Miami's Mr Johnson is a strong believer in this, partly because the population will surpass that of New York within the next 10 years.
Such a notion is derided as “fanciful” by an industry executive. “All the shippers I have spoken to say there is no way they are going to put their distribution facilities down there. And they are building these huge facilities for the really big vessels that are not going to call there. They boast of their trade with South America, but the vessels on that route will stay at 6,000 teu-8,000 teu maximum for the next 20 years.

Dalai Lama

"I feel optimistic about the future because humanity seems to be growing more mature; scientists are paying more attention to our inner values, to the study of mind and the emotions. There is a clear desire for peace and concern for the environment."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Goliath Grouper Action Alert

Goliath Grouper Protection Under Attack
The Miami Herald reports board members and staff from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, the South Atlantic Management Council and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet Jan. 7 thru 9, in Key Largo to consider reopening the Goliath grouper fishery.

Theres been a lot of interest, especially from the gulf side where they are seeing more , in reopening that fishery, Mahood said. It has been nearly a quarter of a century since a ban on legally harvesting a Goliath grouper, then known as a jewfish, was enacted in 1990.

Only within the last few years have Goliaths returned to their ancestral spawning grounds offshore of Palm Beach County. Each August through October spawning aggregations of these 500 lbs. giants amass by the hundreds on coastal shipwrecks guaranteeing a spectacle seen nowhere else in the hemisphere. The Palm Beach County aggregations have become a major tourist draw for the dive industry. Because of the Goliaths predictable behavior they are an easy target by fishers. The protection of these spawning sites is essential for the survival of the species.

Scuba divers and conservationist are outraged by this development. After learning of the Fishery meeting a petition to protect the Goliaths was quickly posted online. We strongly urge you to sign it. Petition:
Here is a just one of many videos shot by local divers highlighting this years aggregation on the M/V Castor in Boynton Beach.
To learn more about these magnificent fish visit Grouper Luna(
Miami Herald: Ban on harvesting Goliath grouper is revisited. Read more here:
PO Box 207 * Boynton Beach, FL 33425

Jamie Titcomb - Former Executive Director, Palm Beach County League of Cities 12/27 by High Noon in Lake Worth | Politics Podcasts

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes the Honorable James S. Titcomb to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Jamie, is currently the Board Chairman for the Workforce Alliance of Palm Beach County and the interim chair for the new Gold Coast Tiger Bay Club. Previously, as the longest serving Executive Director of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. He has also served as City Manager and was the runner-up candidate for the Lake Worth City Manager position. We will find out what Mr. Titcomb is doing now and plans on doing in the future.

Click title for link between 12 and 1 p.m. Friday for the live show. Do the same to listen to the archived show after the live show airs.

Chicago Rising Tide ‘Elves’ Protest Fracking on Governor’s Lawn | Earth First! Newswire

Perhaps next time the "elves" attempt this sort of feat, they should go through this procedure to heighten the realism of the event. What do you think? From the article, click title for link.
State police officers took photos of the object before dismantling it and disposing of it, authorities said.
Chicago police classified the incident as “noncriminal” and don’t anticipate any arrests, said Officer Daniel O’Brien, a police spokesman.
Here's an instructional video of the process. If you are squeamish about surgical procedures, you may not want to watch this video past the five minute mark.

Conservation amendment reaches 500K signatures - SaintPetersBlog

Mine is counted among the signatures the petitioners have collected. They had a person representing the measure at our local Lake Worth Green Market a few weeks ago. Click title for link.

January Events - Mounts Botanical Garden

The person in charge of media relations for Mounts Botanical Garden was kind enough to send the following list of events coming up this month. You may want to print this post out for your reference.

Grooming the Garden Party

Date: January 4, 2013

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Meet at the garden shop at the main entrance and sign in 

Interested in volunteering while enjoying the outdoors? Come to Mounts Botanical Garden and earn hours for their monthly “Grooming the Garden Party.” Help Mounts Botanical Garden staff members groom, mulch and keep their garden beautiful. This is a great opportunity to play in the dirt with other volunteers, meet local people and enjoy the fresh air. Bring your hats, gloves, insect repellent, sunscreen, and your friends and Mounts Botanical Garden will provide drinking water and tools. Closed-toe shoes are recommended. No sandals or No flip-flops please. Children under 16 yrs. MUST be accompanied by an Adult. 

Senior Strolls

January 7, 2013

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Cost: $5 per senior, per stroll
Meet at the Garden Entrance off of Military Trail

Seniors, bring a few fellow golden-agers along or come meet new people as you take a leisurely guided tour through our Garden. You’ll learn about the plants you see as you get some gentle exercise. The strolls are appropriate for people who have a health care provider’s approval to walk moderate distances on paved surfaces or mulched paths. Please see information on group tours if you plan to visit with ten or more people. Please pre-register on-line or by calling the Mounts Botanical Garden office as tour minimums and maximums apply.

Photo Contest Lecture Primer

January 9, 2013

7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Members: Free; Non-Members: $5
Mounts Auditorium 

John J. Lopinot will kick off the upcoming Mounts 2014 Photography Contest with this primer on photographic techniques. He’ll explain the contest rules and focus on what he will look for in award-winning photographs. John will talk about composition, light, point of view and how to create a strong center of interest. No class limit. Please pre-register on-line at

Stories in the Garden

January 10, 2013

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
The Pavilion
Co-sponsored by the Palm Beach County Library Systems

Bring your young ones (ages 2 – 6) to very fun and interactive free nature-themed programs. They’ll love the educational stories, songs and learning activities in the Garden. Scheduled learning activity for January 10 is “Discovering the Trees at Mounts Botanical Garden.” 

The Art of Macro Photography

January 12, 19 & 26 2013

Members: $115; Non-Members: $125
Clayton Hutcheson Center Conference Room
John J. Lopinot, nature photographer

Sharpen your macro and flash photography skills during a three-session workshop with John Lopinot. 

Gardening in South Florida – All About Trees

January 18, 2013

9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Member: $35; Non-Member: $40
Mounts Auditorium

Laurie Albrecht, PBC Environmental Horticulture Agent
Mike Zimmerman, Zimmerman Tree Services 

Mounts Botanical Garden is offering a new series of gardening classes, “Gardening in the Subtropics.” The classes meet once a month on Saturdays and each class is designed to provide practical “how-to” training on a different topic in horticulture. Participants who complete all twelve courses in the series receive a certificate in “Gardening in the Subtropics.” Sign up for one or more classes, or take them all. Participants who attend the class on January 18 will learn about how to select, plant, prune and maintain trees for maximum beauty, health and longevity and practice pruning young nursery specimens. 

Stroller Struts

January 23, 2013

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Enjoy a lovely morning strolling through our Garden with your youngest ones in tow. Meet at the Garden Entrance off of Military Trail. 

Urban Farming: Sustainable Backyard Vegetable Growing & Composting

January 25, 2014
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Exhibit Hall A
Members: $35; Non-Members: $40
Mike Page, Mounts Horticulturist
Greg Spencer, Master Gardener

Learn how to raise tomatoes and vegetables sustainably and create compost for your vegetable or garden beds.

Photographing the Garden at Sunrise

January 27, 2014
5:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Member: $35; Non-Member: $40
The Pavilion & the Garden
John J. Lopinot, nature photographer 

Capture the sunrise at Mounts Botanical Garden during a workshop led by John Lopinot. Pre-paid registration required by January 20th.

Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe on Chaz Stevens. | MAOS by Chaz Stevens

Chaz Stevens chats with the Seinfeld writer that came up with the idea of Festivus in the first place. He seems to be enjoying the attention the holiday he invented is getting.

We will be having Chaz back for an episode of High Noon in Lake Worth after the first of the year. Click title for link.

Boca's signs of the recession set to disappear - Sun Sentinel

Boca Raton is about to start enforcing ban on A-frame signs - those are the ones that businesses put on sidewalks to lure customers to their stores. Apparently, this was done by official action a few years ago in reaction to the effects of the Great Recession. Now, those in charge in Boca are tired of the unsightliness created by all the sign clutter. Click title for link to article.
Since new residential developments are going in, there are going to be extra people around, and officials don't want them competing for sidewalk space with the sandwich signs in the varied ways they have shown up.
"Now you have a situation where things are very busy — the sidewalks are becoming cluttered with stuff," Gromann said, noting that businesses outside downtown have begun using similar sidewalk signs.
At Souvlaki Fast in Mizner Plaza, the sandwich board promises, "the best gyro you've tasted," next to signs for a $16 pedicure and walk-in medical service. Gino Can, manager at the gyro joint, said he's heard his customers agreeing with the sign as they walk out.
As far as Lake Worth is concerned, we have a provision in our sign code that outlaws these sorts of signs. I remember during the time after the 9/11 event in 2001, that the Lake Worth City Commission actually made a formal allowance for a set period of time that businesses could use these signs in front of their business. There was a widespread feeling that this temporary action would help attract customers at a time when the economy was hurting. Now it is pretty much a "free for all" without any formal repeal of the sign prohibition that I am aware of. The city of Lake Worth itself is one of the worst offenders of this prohibition. It seems that every special event is accompanied by A-frame signs being placed in strategic locations. Going downtown, it rare to see a business that doesn't have one of these signs in front of their door. I think the only allowance for these is a menu board for restaurants. If we aren't going to enforce what is on the books, then we need to change the regulations.

It is also worth pointing out, especially in the downtown area, that we already have a situation where pedestrian passage is limited due to sidewalk cafes and the like. Those are going to have to apply and meet new standards to remain from here on out. It should be time to enforce the ban on A-frame signs as well. 

Editorial: Attitude shift getting Chapel-by-the-Lake project... |

Sounds like both the city of West Palm Beach and the developer visions are getting closer together. It also seems that the church who is selling the property may scale back or adjust what amounts to a windfall for them in terms of the sales price and details of the deal. I do have a problem with the design of the project since it does rely, as pointed out in the article below, on a parking garage as a base to the whole project. That is the pedestal referred to here in the bit from the article. That is preventing it from interacting in an engaging way with the street and surrounding area. Click title for link.
The commission can allow variances from the city’s comprehensive plan only if a project is considered “innovative.” One good way to meet that requirement and to deal with the “intensity” issue is for the developers to change the parking “pedestal” of the project. The focus should be all the cumulative effect the project would have, not just on the number of units. A cyclist-pedestrian path on the east side of the project would retain the community access to a slice of the city many residents cherish. A single, taller tower could preserve the view.

With new hires, Scripps hits final goal in state contract |

However, it has not proven to be the economic engine and job creation panacea that Scripps was thought to be. Click title for link. From the article:
But Scripps Florida hasn’t delivered on the ambitious promises made by former Gov. Jeb Bush when he lured the lab here in 2003. He touted an economic impact study that said the incentives for Scripps Florida would spawn some 6,500 spinoff jobs and create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs statewide in 15 years.
To accommodate all the Scripps spinoffs and drug firms expected to flock to the area, Bush often said northern Palm Beach County would need 8 million square feet of space for labs, offices and drug plants.
Ten years on, Scripps Florida has created only three spinoffs, and one promising company that moved to Jupiter to be near Scripps was sold and moved out of the area. Dreams of Big Pharma plants coming to town and hiring hundreds of Palm Beach County workers remain just dreams.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And from this side of the Atlantic, a few words from the First Family

This just in from the Queen...Her Christmas 2013 message...

Arthur C. Clarke

Click title for link to the biographical history of this forward thinking individual who was partly responsible for the screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey. In this snippet of video from the 1970s, he talks about what we have come to know as the ubiquitous Internet in surprising detail.  
Many of you will probably be watching this on your new tablet, smart phone or other device this Christmas 2013.

Santa is so multi-dimensional...

And busy too. View showing Santa Claus picking oranges in Sarasota. State Archives of Florida

Monday, December 23, 2013

See you on the flipside...

Until then, enjoy your family and friends. Remember what the holiday season is all about. This may help. I found the full 1963 Judy Garland Christmas Special. It also includes the "way back" commercials. Enjoy!

Florida will lead U.S. out of Great Recession, say economists - SaintPetersBlog

This is an upbeat assessment by blogger Peter Schorsh citing examples of the economic turnaround happening in the state. Click title for link to his St. Petersburg-based blog. Construction is still a major part of Florida's economic picture.
Although tourism and manufacturing may be influential factors Florida’s economic growth, which includes a population spike that could soon surpass New York as the country’s third most populous state, construction proves to be the No. 1 industry.
Florida was second only to California in construction hiring, leading other high-paying jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America trade group.

Florida mission to Japan focused on business development |

Click title for link that identifies the extent of the trade relationship between Japan and the state of Florida. Many global corporations use Florida as a jumping off point for ventures in Central and South America. Here is an example of the extent of that relationship.
Florida’s relationship with Japan
• More than 200 Japanese companies account for 20,400 Florida jobs.
• Japan is the No. 1 investor in Florida in terms of property, plants, and equipment with $4.11 billion.
• Japan is Florida’s second largest import market.
• Japan is Florida’s eighth largest merchandise trading partner.
• Japan is No. 9 for Florida-origin exports.
• Japan is No. 28 in merchandise exports.
• More than 270,000 Japanese tourists visit Florida each year.
Source: Enterprise Florida
Florida’s top five merchandise exports to Japan, 2010-2012
Civilian aircraft, engines and parts
Citrus fruit
Electrical apparatus for switching, etc.
Chemical wood pulp
Florida’s top five merchandise imports from Japan, 2010-2012
Motor cars and vehicles
Turbojets, turbo propellers and gas turbines
Transmission apparatus for television and radio, TV and video cameras
Electric generating sets and rotary converters
Printing machines
Source: Enterprise Florida

Editorial: Steadily rising property insurance costs in Florida... |

I know that my current $5,500 a year property insurance premium through Citizens is unsustainable. They seem to find ways to put your home in a higher risk category and ignore what protections you do have from losses. I have little hope that the state of Florida can deal with the situation in an above the board manner. Any savings should be passed on to the consumer. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
Florida has had no serious hurricane seasons since 2005. The cost of reinsurance, which insurance companies buy to protect themselves from severe losses, has decreased significantly. In previous years, companies cited reinsurance as the main reason to keep raising prices. In August, Mr. Atwater asked why companies were responding by purchasing even more reinsurance, not passing any of those savings on to homeowners.

Two Florida species on group’s list of those most threatened... |

Click title for link to article about the impact sea level rise on already threatened species. There is a link to inundation maps that is revealing. From the article:
 "Sea-level rise will also swallow beaches where loggerhead sea turtles nest along Florida’s east coast — the densest nesting beaches in the southeast United States. Loggerheads have had prolific nesting seasons recently. During this year’s 8-month nesting season that ended in November, 44,810 nests were recorded statewide, down from 2012’s near-record count of 58,172. On Palm Beach County beaches, there were 6,564 loggerhead nests.
However, modest increases in sea levels would shrink nesting beaches, forcing the turtles to move farther inland, where seawalls and beach development will prevent them from nesting.
At Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge near Melbourne, 42 percent of loggerhead nesting beaches are expected to disappear with just 1.5 feet of sea-level rise."

The 45th Anniversary of Experiencing the Earth Rise...

One of the iconic images of the 20th century, it reminds us of the fragility and beauty of the planet we inhabit. Many think that this view helped us better understand our place in the universe. And in this video, we are reminded that this picture was a product of teamwork. Something we should remember as we inhabit this swirling blue marble in space.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Boomerang buyers may boost housing market |

This change could help a lot of people. Click title for link to article:
 "Under the Federal Housing Administration’s “Back to Work” program, it will approve certain borrowers for a home loan just one year after a foreclosure, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure or bankruptcy. FHA’s previous timeline was three years for a short sale and foreclosure and two years for a bankruptcy.
Federal mortgage backer Fannie Mae has previously allowed homebuyers who completed a short sale to buy again after two years if they put 10 percent down, but an automatic underwriting system couldn’t differentiate a short sale from a foreclosure and would spit out a denial. The application could then be referred for a manual review. But those were often denied based on the computer’s refusal, Maddux said.
Eligibility for a loan fast-track hinges on whether borrowers suffered a specific financial event during the recession that, through no fault of their own, caused them to lose their home. Also, the foreclosure or short sale should be the only blemish on a credit report. For an FHA mortgage, the homebuyer must take a housing counseling class."

Palm Beacher Greene could build West Palm Beach condo tower |

Apparently, the approvals for this project are still on the books and won't expire until 2016. This is in the area north of the Rybovich project that just got a go ahead nod from the Planning Commission. Both projects would change the northern part of West Palm Beach by the water. Click title for link to article.
"Now a company affiliated with Greene paid $7.65 million for the North Flagler Drive property, which previously was owned by an Iowa-based investor group. The deal was brokered by Brad Capas of Capas Group Realty Advisors, based in Fort Lauderdale.
The parcel, dubbed LB T-Rex Aqua Vista, was planned as the Eighty Points West condo, rising 20 stories and featuring 173 luxury units. Prices were set to range from the $700,000s to $2.9 million for the nautically themed residence. (The project’s name was derived from the community’s longitudinal location on the map.)"

Public safety loses 28th employee of year |

This is a disturbing trend in our neighboring Town of Palm Beach. The importance of little things seems to be magnified there for some reason. Maybe too many big fish in a little pond? But things in the public safety department seem a little out of control. Do they really need to perform an internal investigation over the "flicking of a hat?" Click title for link to article.
Last month, Dickson was placed on leave with pay during an internal investigation into whether he violated town or department policy by knocking the hat off of a co-worker’s head on Nov. 13 at Fire Station 3. He was on investigative leave from Nov. 16-28.
Dickson said he flicked the hat off the head of driver/engineer Gerald Hagin as a joke and that he apologized for it. Hagin said he perceived it as a joke and accepted Dickson’s apology. Hagin said he didn’t want to file a formal complaint and considered the matter resolved.
However, Donatto asked human resources to conduct a formal investigation after getting a complaint from another firefighter about the incident.
In a Nov. 26 report, Human Resources Director Danielle Olson found no evidence that the incident was anything more than a joke. But she also said the behavior violated fire-department policies.
The report said the incident was cause for disciplinary action, which could be discharge, suspension or demotion. Blouin had not taken any disciplinary action against Dickson before he resigned.
Dickson said he thought he was going to be fired. “I’m guilty of flicking a hat; everything else is false,” Dickson said. “People do worse than that in the fire station.”

County seeks ways to compel landlords to collect tourism taxes | FLORIDA TODAY |

On the topic of short-term vacation rentals. You remember all of the discussion recently about the proliferation of short term rentals and how state law bars strict local regulation. Right now, in Lake Worth, the shortest stay allowed is two months. Enforcement is an issue of course, but this is another issue: Collection of bed and sales taxes. Many people running these short term rentals don't know they need to be collecting the taxes. Hotels want this to happen so short term rentals don't get a competitive pricing advantage. This article comes from Brevard County. Click title for link.
"Tipton, though, doesn’t envision a massive enforcement action with “boots on the ground, knocking on people’s doors.”
Rather, he expects the county will have an educational campaign about the rules, with real estate, property management and homeowners’ association representatives invited to seminars to explain the rules.
Cullen recently included a flier with her office’s mailing of 320,000 property tax bills, as well as with business tax renewal notice mailings, explaining the Tourist Development Tax. The flier informed people that short-term rental property owners need to register to collect the tax. She also has a form on her office’s website for people to report potential tourist tax evaders.
“The greatest tool I have is education,” Cullen said. “Most people want to comply with the law. And once they know it’s due, they pay it.”