Saturday, February 15, 2014

After the Games: Photographs of Decaying Olympic Sites

This site, click title for link, shares pictures of former Olympic sites, both summer and winter varieties, in various states of decay. Sochi represents the spending of over $51 billion which is more than any other of the other venue's expenditures combined. Many people were displaced to make way for special event locations/structures. Patriotism seems to carry the day now that the games have started. But, collectively, they represent the world's ease at being a "throw away" society.

City Needs Residents to Run for Office in 2014 | Tamarac Talk

Stumbled upon a blog about the city of Tamarac. It is like this one as it is not sanctioned or operated by the city. But, according to City Manager Bornstein at the last Lake Worth City Commission meeting, our new Code Enforcement Manager came from there. His name is Mark Wood and he will be at the next City Commission meeting to introduce himself. I also found this about how much their elected officials make. Click title for link.
November elections are still nine months away and the city of Tamarac will have three seats on the ballot, including two on the commission as one for Mayor.  If you are a civic-minded resident that has an interest in our local government, consider throwing your hat into the ring.
These are lucrative part-time jobs as well, so it would be a shame if any of these candidates ran unopposed. For instance, a commissioner in Tamarac makes $29,000 and the mayor makes $34,000 plus each get a hefty $700 a month car allowance plus a host of other benefits as well.
Tamarac is about two times the size of Lake Worth's population at just over 60,000 and is located in western Broward County just north of Sunrise.

Illinois Central RR Poster Promoting Florida Travel

Riviera Beach councilman paid full-time for part-time South... |

Looks as though corruption was standard operating procedure in South Bay. The Inspector General's office audited the operations there and found some of the following. This is over and above the situation outlined with the Riviera Beach official. Click title for link.
Among key findings:
— The perennially cash-strapped town was unable to account for assets topping $753,000. After weeks of digging, about $430,000 in assets were tracked down, but $315,859 in equipment was never located.
— Ten acres of town land were being used by a cement company that had not paid South Bay rent since 2007. No lease had ever been required. South Bay recently won an appeals court decision allowing it to evict the company.
— Some town properties were unusable, in falling-down disrepair or dangerous. One former American Legion Hall owned by the town, for instance, had a collapsed roof and no windows.
— Alston, the former city manager, had a town-supplied car which he drove for 60,000 miles, racking up $11,885 in gas billed to the town — even though his license was suspended for more than a year.
— The new city manager, Leondrae Camel, had been using a personal credit card to help pay city expenses. But, said Camel, he had to: Banks and American Express had turned down the town’s applications for a credit card.

Scott Reports Florida Attracted Record 95 Million Visitors |

Still no word from Governor Scott on how we are strategically attempting to diversify Florida's economy. And it would be nice if Lake Worth had some hotel rooms for out-of-state and international visitors. Click title for link.
Governor Rick Scott today announced that according to preliminary estimates released today by VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – 94.7 million visitors came to Florida in 2013, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2012.
This represents a record year for visitation to Florida, exceeding the previous high of 91.5 million in 2012.  The number of direct travel-related jobs in 2013 was also a record high, with 1,088,200 Floridians employed in the tourism industry – up 2.9 percent from 2012.

Mark your Calendars! Mayor's State of the City Address

Scanned from this week's edition of the Lake Worth Herald

Friday, February 14, 2014

WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: News - Top Stories - Lake Worth 3-year-old girl shot at home with unsecured weapon

More information on the shooting which occurred on North O Street yesterday. Click title for link.

Dixie Highway Merchants Meeting

This past Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. a concerned group of citizens, residents and merchants met in a small office space in front of the Car Clinic on North Dixie Hwy. Thanks to Jorge Goyanes for opening the space. This is the beginning of a merchant group concerned about present conditions and the future of North Dixie Hwy. I was only able to be part of the meeting for a short time as I was on my way to chair the Historic Resource Preservation Board meeting that began at 6 p.m.

While I was there, Mary Lindsey explained what was needed to file and become a non-profit corporation to further the group's aims. We also heard from Shanon Materio, who besides being part of a business on Dixie Hwy. in Lake Worth, is also a City Commissioner in West Palm Beach. She talked about how a study is about to be released by the City of West Palm Beach that establishes certain "nodes" along the highway with different themes. Discussion also surrounding getting FDOT to listen to concerns other than making sure traffic continues through the area at a high rate of speed. There needs to be more of a balance between the quality of those using non-motorized ways of transportation (pedestrian and bicycles) and vehicle traffic.

Current merchants on Dixie Hwy. expressed the need to address immediate concerns, like prostitution and drug-dealing, that prevent potential customers from feeling comfortable to park and visit some of the establishments up and down the highway.

I left my e-mail and phone number so I will be on the receiving end of future communications. Wish that I could have stayed to the conclusion of the meeting. It was a good showing!

Valentine's Day message from the City of West Palm Beach, from Facebook:

Delray Beach, Florida: The most fun small town in America | Toronto Star

Delray Beach seems to be every travel writer's sweetheart. This was published in the Toronto Star which serves the fourth largest metropolitan area of North America. The author is smitten with Delray and it oozes in his prose. Reading this, I get the sense that he was singled out by someone, it is not apparent who, and given a "tour" of various hot spots. Click title for link to the article. Here are a few gems:
Unlike many Florida cities, Delray Beach is a place where you can park your car at your hotel and forget about it. Most of the restaurants and top shops are strung along the main street, Atlantic Ave. The beach is within walking distance of several fine hotels.
And this...
Back downtown, I hitch a ride in a small, open-air electric cart with a company called The Delray Downtowner. There’s no charge for rides around the downtown area, but drivers work on tips, so a few bucks is a nice thing to give them at the end of your ride.
I stop at Café Martier on Atlantic Ave. for good cappuccino and fabulous people-watching from their sidewalk patio. The streets are clean and the sidewalks are lined with beds of flowering red and white begonias and towering palm trees with tiny pin lights.
It’s enough to make a northerner consider making a trip to the local real estate office.

Boynton CRA to build $1 million harbor building |

Boynton Beach is moving ahead on some marina improvements in the eastern area of its downtown. A new parking lot, as previously reported, is being built in the area as well. Click title for link to article.
The city will pay $1.1 million to build a 1,500-square-foot Harbor Master building with additional space for shops and public restrooms at the Boynton Harbor Marina, officials decided Tuesday.
In a unanimous vote, the Community Redevelopment Agency board approved a contract with Collage Design & Construction Group to head the project, which also includes additional landscaping and lighting at the marina.
Vivian Brooks, CRA executive director, said the marina is the city’s “eastern anchor” for downtown development.

Mark Foley helping Washington Nationals explore spring... |

I like the spirit of the talks taking place here. Mark Foley is helping to play matchmaker between the Washington Nationals and local officials for a spring training stadium. One of the locations could be west of I-95 along Lake Worth Road near Palm Beach State College. The Nationals focused on redevelopment in the area where their home ballpark was built in Washington, D.C. and want to contribute in a similar way with their spring stadium. Nice to see City Manager Bornstein's involvement too. Click title for link. Here is a bit from the article:
Since Jan. 9, Foley has been registered as a lobbyist for Washington Nationals Spring Training LLC with the county and the cities of Lake Worth, Lantana and Boca Raton.
Foley got to know Lerner [Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner] during Foley’s days as a Republican congressman in Washington representing the 16th district of Florida from 1994 to 2006.
Foley and Lerner met earlier in the day with Lake Worth City Manager Mike Bornstein, who is trying to lure a team on land just west of Interstate 95 around John Prince Park and Palm Beach State College, in an area from Lake Worth Road to Sixth Avenue South.

New foundation could help keep north bridge open |

It appears that continued crossing of the north bridge into Palm Beach will require a hopeful mindset, according to Mayor Coniglio. Surveying of the bridge to determine whether it is moving seems to be a daily activity and "shims" are adjusted as need. Click title for link. Catch this at the end of the article.

“Last week I [Mayor Gail Coniglio] had a long conversation, a telephone conference with our own Leo Vecellio, who, for a living builds bridges and roads, and Llywd Ecclestone and (Town Manager) Peter Elwell, with the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary (Ananth Prasad), who continues to reassure us that all systems are go to maintain that bridge while construction is occurring,” Coniglio said. “I met with Gov. (Rick) Scott at the end of last week, who again reiterated his position: ‘We are doing everything possible.’ But I’d like to remind everyone to keep your brain on ‘hope.’ ”
Also note at the bottom of the page, the Town of Palm Beach has a way of text real time traffic information to your phone.

Victor Hugo

"How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Countries Versus US States GDP Map - Business Insider

Florida produces as much gross domestic product (GDP) as the Netherlands. California as much as Italy, with less population. Ohio produces as much as Sweden. New York state as much as Mexico. Interesting map, click title for link. It highlights the enormity of the U.S. economy.

Four-year-old girl found shot in Lake Worth

1200 block of North "O" Street. Click title for link.

Monday FILM NIGHT: Éric Rohmer’s The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque (1993) - Monday, February 17th @ 6pm

On Monday, February 17th, at 6pm in the Rosenthal Lecture Room at the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s offices, the comedy film The Tree, the Mayor and the Mediatheque (1993) will be presented.

In master French director Éric Rohmer’s hands a simple story of town planning politics becomes a moving moral tale.

The socialist mayor of the village of Vendée has plans to take a beautiful field on the edge of town and turn it into a high-profile cultural center in order to propel himself into national affairs.  He intends to replace the field with a sports and cultural center, along with a large parking lot. The only initial opposition to this plan comes from a sensitive schoolteacher, and he's hardly a threat, because he does not imagine he can successfully oppose the builders' designs. However, trouble begins to thwart the mayor's plans when his daughter and the daughter of the schoolteacher become friends.

The New York Times reviewed it saying “[Rohmer] manages in this film to make a kind of romance out of the language of politics. . . . a caustic critique of politicians who meddle with concepts like urban planning, architecture and ecology.”

The New Yorker praised it stating, “this richly discursive political caprice, filled with intriguing effluvia of French electoral infighting, is, surprisingly, one of Éric Rohmer’s most personal films.”

The Foundation’s Executive Director Alexander C. Ives will present a short introduction, linking the film with the causes and work of the Preservation Foundation.

The showing is FREE to all.  However, only reserved seating is available.  Those who wish to attend must call 561.832.0731, ext. 110 to reserve a seat.  Email responses are not accepted.

The showing will begin at 6pm.
Please note, doors lock at 6:15pm.

The film’s approximate runtime is 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Refreshments will be provided.
As with all events, the Preservation Foundation expects attendees to act respectfully.  We reserve the right to turn away anyone.

Also our February Newsletter just went out in the mail this week.  For those interested in a downloadable copy, feel free to get a 7MB Adobe PDF file of it here:

Looks like there is a new Judge in the Laurel Decker vs. City of Lake Worth lawsuit...


Filing Date:11-FEB-2014
Filing Party: 
Disposition Amount:
The former judge was Marx; now it is McCarthy. No new date is set yet for the rescheduled hearing from December 2013.

Blogger Beats Sun-Sentinel Like A Drum :

Blogger and frequent guest on High Noon in Lake Worth, Chaz Stevens, at first goes without mention by the Sun-Sentinel after finally getting prosecutors to start an investigation into bidding practices of a Lauderdale Lakes City Manager. Stevens has worked long and hard on the story, through his My Acts of Sedition blog. So then the Sun-Sentinel does an article on the matter and fails to mention Chaz. Apparently, they changed the original article and ended up mentioning him in the last paragraph. The BrowardBeat article, click title for link, points out that this is a fight between old and new forms of media. His conclusion is that the Sun-Sentinel better get with the program and recognize bloggers like Stevens who have taken up the work of the Fourth Estate. 
A source says that it is only after [Chaz] Stevens complained that the paper agreed to credit the blogger…in the last paragraph.
The Sun-Sentinel story ignored that Stevens has been threatened with a lawsuit by Jonathan K. Allen’s father, well-known lawyer and civil rights pioneer W. George Allen.  You can see one of Stevens’ pieces here.
My old employer, the Sun-Sentinel, is desperately trying to retain relevance in the Internet Age. They won’t be successful by ignoring folks like Stevens.
Stevens’ site has never made money.  He says he does it because of his belief in clean government.
“The perp walk is my Olympic Gold Medal,” he says. “It makes what I do worth all of the time and trouble.”
Like it or not, bloggers like Stevens and websites like Tamarac Talk are the future.  They are more nimble and more aggressive than the sclerotic Old Media.

West Palm mayor: Bond might be needed to fix roads, other... |

Our large municipal neighbor to the north is also talking about funding a big public works/infrastructure bond. An existing bond about to expire may be extended, but it seems that the city has many needs. There are some serious equipment issues that come in the form of capital costs that they have to consider too. West Palm Beach, even with all the new development planned or in the works, is still recovering from the Great Recession. Click title for link.
With the recession and the collapse of the real estate boom, city revenue dropped 13 percent between 2006 and 2013.
The city said expected new developments and sales of property would eventually account for an added $1.3 billion in property value and generate as much as $10 million in new taxes. But the city has said that it probably will be a decade before the city returns to the property values and revenue generated in 2007.
“We are beginning to pull out a bit,” Muoio said Wednesday in her weekly press briefing, “but we’re projecting a tight budget year. We haven’t had money for capital improvements.”
We haven't heard much more about the Lake Worth 2020 or 2030 plan. Perhaps with the prospect of an election behind us, we will hear more about it soon.

Town won’t waive noise law for Grassy Flats work |

And because of this, the project will take longer and cost more in order to appease those around the project. It is just about to go into what would be a noisier phase. This is the located in the area of the Lake Worth Lagoon that sits just west of the Town's Par 3 golf course. Click title for link. From the article:
The Town Council denied Tuesday a request from Palm Beach County to waive town noise restrictions for work on the Grassy Flats Lake Worth Lagoon Restoration Project.
The county’s Department of Environmental Resources Management is creating a new seagrass habitat west of the Par 3. The project involves placing about 50,000 cubic yards of sand and constructing two mangrove islands to cap 12.8 acres of muck sediments that are causing poor water quality and reduced habitat value.
Several Ibis Isle residents have complained about the noise, according to town staff.

2nd flood insurance bill floated in House as legislation hits turbulence | The Florida Current

The state legislature is attempting to find ways to entice private insurers to write flood insurance in Florida, but is having a tough time putting alternatives together. They are aiming for affordable premiums, but in the end the policy has to have some meaningful benefit that allows the property owner to repair all of the flood damage. Some versions of the bill include provisions to only pay the amount of the outstanding mortgage. All this is a result of Congress re-working the national flood insurance program which has the prospect of increasing rates dramatically and making certain properties unaffordable. Click title for link. Here is what is happening in Congress:
Congress has made noises about delaying the rate hikes for four years but Brandes wants to move ahead with a private-sector plan either way. The U.S. Senate has passed the four-year delay, but the measure has not yet passed the U.S. House.
“The bill in front of Congress right now delays it for four years, but what happens in year five? And if you’re going to sell your home ... the buyer is going to want to know what the rates are in year five and year six and year seven,” Brandes said.

10 Best Beach Towns in Florida - is out with its list of the 10 best beach towns in Florida. Delray Beach and Stuart are local communities that made the list. Click title for link.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Message from Mayor Pam Triolo on Facebook...

Click here for a link to the City's website to report a "Roadway Issue"

Not sure how well this works, but it might be worth a try for someone to test out. You are asked to fill-in the blank for the name of the street, from where to where, and what the issue is. You can choose from pothole, sidewalk/curbing, drainage/stormwater or signs. There is a description of how potholes form and a number to call as well.

Click here for a list of a "City Wide Pothole Repair Schedule."

Video produced by the City of West Palm Beach - Police and Fire Department Walk-through of the new Palm Beach Outlet Mall

City Manager's Report from last night's City Commission meeting (2/11/14)

We are introduced to Doug Wood, the city's new Finance Director. He brings about 40 years of government experience and most recently worked for the City of Ft. Lauderdale. City Manager Bornstein also mentioned the hiring of Mark Wood, no relation, as the new Code Enforcement Manager. He just started this week and will be at the next City Commission meeting to meet the public.

Explanation of FMEA Mutual Aid Agreement - Electric Utility

City of Delray Beach Receives John Nolen Award

Click title for link to the formal announcement. You'll get the idea from this:
The Florida Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has selected the City of Delray Beach as this year’s recipient for the prestigious John Nolen Award. This award acknowledges the City’s outstanding achievements in urban growth and development that have transformed our municipality into a desirable community to live, work and play while maintaining its rich history, cultural diversity and unique small town charm.  Mayor Cary Glickstein accepted the coveted medal at the CNU 2014 Florida Summit Awards Presentation on February 6th.
A panel jury consisting of past award recipients review candidates who meet the criteria to receive this distinguished honor.  Five benchmarks are considered during the selection process:  innovation, transferability, quality, implementation and comprehensiveness.  This year’s award recipient proved to be exceptional – it is the first time that a town has ever been recognized for its contributions to urbanism.

Florida – Corps achieves Lake Worth Inlet milestone

This article highlights the improvements that have just been green-lighted for the expansion of the Palm Beach Harbor at the Port of Palm Beach. They will be using an expedited design process to speed the project toward implementation. Click title for link. Here is a list of some of what will go on:
Palm Beach Harbor has not had any federal improvements in more than 50 years, resulting in a channel that’s insufficient for today’s existing vessel fleet.
The recommended plan deepens the existing 33-foot project depth to 41-feet in the entrance channel, 39-feet in the inner channel and main turning basin, and widens the existing footprint in certain places. An advance maintenance plan with jetty stabilization and settling basin expansion is also part of the recommended plan.
“The plan allows vessels to accommodate more tonnage per trip, eliminating the need to do vessel light-loading and incurred tidal delays, which historically results in higher transportation costs,” Reichold said. “The improved advance maintenance plan will decrease O&M (operations and maintenance) events, saving the federal government approximately $850,000 annually,” she added.

Joel Chandler has agreed to head the Citizens Awareness Foundation, Inc.

Mr. Chandler is a former High Noon in Lake Worth guest. Click here for his last entry on his website.


For Immediate Release
(863) 660-4244

The Citizens Awareness Foundation, Inc. is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the proposition that members of the public have a right to know what their government is doing in their name and at their expense. To that end the Foundation seeks to empower citizens to exercise their right to know by providing free educational materials and programs, and when appropriate, taking legal action to enforce the public’s right of access to public records and public meetings.

The Foundation will be lead by Joel Chandler, a well-known open government activist and former editor of  Chandler first gained notoriety in 2008 when he filed suit to enforce Florida’s Public Records Act after being denied access to records by several Florida school boards.  Since then he has filed and won more than 100 public records lawsuits that have been widely reported by mainstream media.

As the Executive Director of the Foundation, Chandler will lead audits of state and local agencies (including vendors acting on their behalf) for compliance with public records and open meetings laws.  Additionally, he will host educational programs and distribute educational materials to citizens.  Programs and materials will be available to the public, the media and government agencies free-of-charge.

While the Foundation is not licensed to offer legal advice to the public, staff members are available to provide non-attorney educational assistance to members of the public and government agencies as well as the media, student groups, community organizations, government-watchdogs and civil rights groups.

For help with open government issues or to request an educational program or materials please contact the Foundation by email at

The Citizens Awareness Foundation, Inc.
1286 West Newport Center Drive
Deerfield Beach, Florida 33442
(888) 830-3769 Help Line

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Public Comment on Items not on the Agenda - Commission Meeting of 2/11/14

Commissioner Comments and Liaison Reports from Tonight's Meeting

Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Presentation at Tonight's City Commission Meeting 2/11/14

Conditions at the C-51 Canal

Yesterday, Jim Stafford came over with his new Phantom drone and we went to Spillway Park to check it out. He was kind enough to let me try my hand at the controls. This is one of the pictures snagged while the device was in flight:
While there, we took the regular camera and recorded the deplorable amount of debris and rubbish that is being held back from going through the floodgate structure. These pictures are of the area just out of the frame and to the left of the above picture:

 Birds were walking on this stuff.

New Hope to Celebrate Lake Worth’s Black History

In recognition of Black History Month, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church will host a visual presentation by Lake Worth historian, Ted Brownstein, on his recent book Pioneers of Jewell. The presentation, to be held at noon on Saturday, February 15, will be focus on the role that blacks played in founding the City of Lake Worth.

In 1885, Samuel and Fannie James, an African American couple, reported to be ex-slaves, fled the increasing racial turmoil of Northern and Central Florida for the sparsely settled everglades frontier. They were the first to homestead in Jewell, the area that would later become the City of Lake Worth, arriving with just the clothes on their backs and $50 in their pockets. Overcoming prejudices and stereotypes, they were the economic and social hub of a growing community of farmers and homesteaders. Their story is explored in the context of race relations of their times including their connections to the Underground Railroad, the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War and the segregation laws of the emerging Jim Crow Era.

Groundbreaking research reveals…
  • Biographies of more than a dozen previously unknown Jewell pioneers. 
  • An in-depth look at the Jameses’ stunning financial success. 
  • Investigation of the Jameses’ slave background. 
  • The history of the segregated Osborne Colored Addition. 
  • Klu Klux Klan activity in Lake Worth during the 1920s. 
  • The fate of Jewell and its pioneers. 
New Hope pastor, Reverend Tony said, “This is not just for Church members. Everyone, black and white, should know this history. Invite your family, your friends, your neighbors to this important event.” The Church is located at 819 Washington Avenue (at the corner of Wingfield, down the street from the Municipal Gym). Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served.

AnnaBeth Karson - "It makes our job easier." - 7/17/12

A smug AnnaBeth Karson complaining about the charter amendment on height not being part of the 2012 November ballot and claiming that it makes their job easier to point out who the Commission majority represents to the voters. Wonder where she is now?

No Election in Lake Worth!

Two more years for Commissioners Maxwell, Amoroso and Mayor Triolo. Congratulations team Lake Worth! The qualifying deadline passed at noon today (2/11).

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Gray Mockingbird Garden - This Sunday, the 16th at 1 p.m.

Palm Tran to Serve Palm Beach Outlets with New Bus Stop Location

For release: Date: February 6, 2014
Contact: Paula Girard, 561-841-4245

Effective February 14, Palm Tran, Palm Beach County's public transportation system, will begin service at the new Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach.
Service will be provided seven days a week with Routes 2, 33 and 49. There will also be park-and-ride service for commuters to utilize and connect to other Palm Tran routes.

Please visit our website,, for schedules and routing information.

Palm Tran buses will provide service directly into Palm Beach Outlets on the east side of the property near the corner of Congress Avenue and Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. New bus stops, bus bays and shelters were constructed on the grounds for Palm Tran buses and riders to use.

To view Palm Tran's flier with a map of Palm Beach Outlets, please click here.
For assistance planning your trip, please call the Palm Tran customer service department at 561-841-4287 or visit

11 Small Towns Around America That Have Interesting Claims To Fame

Interesting countdown of 11 U.S. towns that have branded themselves based upon some claim to fame. Examples include the home of Colonel Sanders first restaurant and the future birthplace of Star Trek character Captain Kirk. I guess it is one way to create a destination for tourism. Click title for link.

Millions in development on Boynton CRA's agenda - Sun Sentinel

Boynton Beach is not standing still and is about to initiate construction of a parking lot in their downtown. They are taking advantage of their ideal location between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach that we read about yesterday in the article on Delray Beach's hotel room rates. Click title for link. Not sure what their Mayor was trying to say here:
Boynton Beach city officials could move forward with more than $1.6 million in new developments this week.
On Tuesday, the Community Redevelopment Agency will select a developer to build a new public parking lot downtown and discuss a contract that could mean a facelift for theBoynton Beach Harbor Marina.
"We've been working hard to crack development," said CRA Chairman, Mayor Jerry Taylor "We have a plan."

Harbourside developer could pay $152,000 for new trolley in... |

Harbourside is a large project at the northwest corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1 in Jupiter. You can check out its progress here back in August of last year. I was able to get some pictures of it in process. Many people think that it is too large for the "quaint fishing village." However, it looks like they are going to have the bucks to fund a trolley to get people around town. This is something that Lake Worth used to have and that many miss having. The thing is, we just don't have a large institution that is able to pay for it at this point in time. Click title for link to a short article from the Palm Beach Post.

Legislators file medical marijuana legislation as a "framework" for constitutional amendment | Tampa Bay Times

Could Florida be the first southern state to allow legal medical marijuana? As it is drafted, a law would allow it for specific conditions and be tightly regulated. Senator Jeff Clemens is one of the bill's sponsors and he had a press conference yesterday. Click title for link. From the article:
“We’ve seen a seismic shift in how the legislature is beginning to look at these issues,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, at a press conference Monday to announce his 157-page bill, the "Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act" (SB 962), with House sponsor Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando.
Clemens pointed to efforts by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, and Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, to decriminalize the strain of non-psychoactive marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web” to help children with seizures, as a sign of bipartisan progress.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Senators Introduce Bill on Complete Streets « Policy News for Planners

This should help our local Metropolitan Planning Organization and last week's High Noon in Lake Worth guest Bret Baronak incorporate bicycle and pedestrian amenities in future transportation projects. Click title for link.
The Safe Streets Act would require that within two years, each state and metropolitan planning organization adopt a complete streets policy that ensures all new federally funded transportation projects accommodate the safety and convenience of all users. The bill defines transportation projects as road construction and road modification projects, including design, planning, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and operations.
Click here for some recent High Noon in Lake Worth shows which highlight the "complete streets" concept.

Today's Program at the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast - 2/10/14

Video up shortly from the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast - 2/10/14 @ the Casino Ballroom

This was a very nice gesture on the part of the city. Seventy people RSVP'd, but about half that showed up as there were lots of bags with favors left on the table as you came into the ballroom. Many municipalities don't recognize volunteers to this extent. Thank you City of Lake Worth.

10:35 AM Flagler Bridge Has Re-Opened to Traffic

"The Flagler Bridge has re-opened to traffic after a damaged electrical switch was replaced." - Town of Palm Beach

Delray plans tourism blitz, ready to launch app - Sun Sentinel

More evidence that Delray Beach is in a class by itself. The CRA and Chamber of Commerce are jointly promoting Delray Beach as a national travel destination. Remember, they have the most expensive hotel rooms in the state. Click title for link. Read about the new app they are creating with Rand McNally:
The organization is getting some added assistance on the national spotlight.
Delray Beach is one of several test cities mapping giant Rand McNally chose to create a $15,000 cell phone app, which Immelman expects to launch in February.
"We want to put some thought into the launch," she said.
Immelman worked closely with Rand McNally's design team on the app, which is focused on places around Delray Beach "to give a fuller picture of the city."
Delray Beach was chosen for the app after winning "Most Fun Small Town" in 2012.
"We keep reaping the benefits of that," Immelman said.

Neighbors to demand West Palm Beach shut down 45th Street Flea... |

Here is an example of neighborhoods working together to address a serious issue. It is made more complicated by the fact that the property that contains the 45th Street Flea Market straddles two jurisdictions, West Palm Beach and Mangonia Park. Reading the article, click title for link, it seems as though the cities have problems regulating the businesses within the property. Some may be unlicensed. The property owner is pointing to the neighborhoods as a source of the crime problem. Mayor Muoio is wading through this thorny issue. From the article:
On Monday, residents of the Echo Lakes, Westfield and North Shore associations will meet with the mayor to outline “the damaging, deleterious and sometimes deadly impact the Flea Market has had on their communities for nearly a quarter of a century,” Jacqueline Smith of Concerned Residents of Westfield said in a release.
She said the residents also want “to vigorously counter the assertion of the Flea Market owners and manager that their neighborhoods are crime-ridden and need to be cleaned up.” Property Owner Sidney Spiegel had said at the Jan. 28 meeting it’s not his fault the market is surrounded by an area plagued by crime.

Five lagoon counties join forces to help waterway | FLORIDA TODAY |

Lots of cooperation and coordination around addressing the Indian River Lagoon's water quality issues. Officials are being encouraged to "ask for the moon", in terms of assistance from the federal government. Click title for link. Here is what they are doing:
Commissioners from five counties, including Brevard, agreed Friday that they must stick together — and stick to the science — to save the Indian River Lagoon.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen the five counties coming together,” Bill Kerr, an environmental consultant from Brevard, said before a crowd of more than 100 at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce.

It’s a City Street, Not a Superhighway

From the Biscayne Times out of Miami, this is an article regarding traffic-calming along Biscayne Boulevard and the on-going fight with FDOT regarding revamping the roadway to encourage lower speeds and fewer accidents. There are parallels in this discussion to the situation that we face on Dixie Hwy. Part of the reason the properties along the street are not thriving is that the thoroughfare is not pedestrian friendly and there is no on street parking south of the West Palm Beach/Lake Worth line. Click title for link to article. Here is a bit:
Known as the MiMo Streetscape Visioning Plan, it was drawn up by two University of Miami architecture professors. Its purpose: Find ways to slow down traffic along Biscayne Boulevard, between 61st and 77th streets, in order make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street, and to increase business for local merchants operating in that area.
At first it seemed the street improvements were a done deal. Engineers from the Florida Department of Transportation, the official custodian of Biscayne Boulevard, appeared to be receptive. (See “Boulevard Vision: Slow Down, Park, Shop,” August 2010.)
But FDOT ultimately rejected the plans. Their main objection was the installation of medians, which engineers argued would obstruct local residents trying to drive out of their neighborhoods.
“The department conducted a study to evaluate the placement of medians on the corridor,” FDOT spokesman Brian Rick says in an e-mail to the BT. “The study concluded there would be impacts that would result in additional travel distances for residents who live east and west of Biscayne Boulevard.” Rick says the medians would have other detrimental consequences as well, but by deadline did not address FDOT’s objection to additional parallel parking.

Delray hotel rates tops in state | Your Delray Boca

According to, Delray Beach is the most expensive place to stay overnight in a hotel. The site that this post is linked to, click title to go there, is more than slightly biased toward Delray Beach. However, it is important to note that the least expensive double room is just two dollars shy of $300 per night. The article points out Delray having an ideal location, between Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. Hey, wait a minute, Lake Worth shares that same enviable location. Here you can stay at the Silver Lions Motel for $50 a night.

Lets talk about supply and demand here. According to this, Delray Beach is surpassing Palm Beach in having the most expensive, least expensive room. One would think that there is indeed a market for quality hotel rooms . Note there are criteria included in the survey that weed out the not-well-reviewed properties. You really would think that we could fill some of the holes downtown with hotel properties given these rates.

Here is what the article concludes:
So what does this all mean?
Well, we spoke to a couple of local hoteliers, who shared with us their take on the list.
First, these rates are being achieved, so if you believe in the free market, a lot of tourists are finding a lot of value in Delray Beach.
Second, the city must be doing something right to attract these rates during the height of the season.
Third, the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau might want to start pushing Delray a tad bit more, with apologies to our neighbors Boca Raton, Wellington and Palm Beach.
Fourth, attracting some moderate priced hotel options might not be a bad idea. (The Fairfield Inn, which is underway at I-95 and West Atlantic Avenue might be just what the doctor ordered).
Perhaps Lake Worth is destined to fill in the vast moderate priced category?

From the Town of Palm Beach this morning: Flagler Bridge Temporarily Closed Due to Mechanical Issue

"The Town has been notified that the Flagler Bridge is temporarily closed due to a mechanical issue. Contractors are on site reviewing the situation and the bridge will be reopened as quickly as possible. The initial assessment is that this is an electrical problem and not an indication of structural concerns."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Set to Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers"

Join Sally Welsh and a lot of other cool peeps at the Lake Worth Municipal Pool Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. $4 to enter if you are a Lake Worth resident.

Occupy Our Homes moves into Palm Beach County |

Something to keep in mind related to battle against foreclosures and resulting vacant, bank-owned properties. Lake Worth is particularly affected by the crisis. We still have a large inventory of vacant and foreclosed homes - some estimate that there are a total of 2,000 here. This organization is following an activist route, even shutting down bank branches by sit-ins if those banks prove to be uncooperative in modifying loans. Click title for link. From the article:
An offshoot of the infamous Occupy Wall Street movement is taking up residence in Palm Beach County with a grassroots effort to keep homes from foreclosure.
Occupy Our Homes Palm Beach County is expected to set up an office as early as this month with two full-time organizers who will run campaigns to fight foreclosure and teach homeowners how to conduct their own activism, said Tim Franzen, a member of the Occupy Our Homes national steering committee.
“We get more phone calls from Palm Beach County than almost anywhere else in the country right now,” Franzen said. “The national movement has had an eye on the area, and we decided in the fall to make it a priority to get a thriving chapter down there.”

Floating house finds a home - Sun Sentinel

The house without a home is finally going to find one, in North Carolina. A number of local relocation spots have been tried, but none came together at the right time with enough resources. The house is now dismantled and it will be moved in pieces. Lake Worth was one of the alternatives attempted. Click title for link. From the article:
The 111-year-old Stambaugh Cottage, which floated on a barge in the Lake Worth Lagoon for close to three years, is packing up and moving north.
The historic home, which escaped demolition in May 2011, was dismantled last month by its owner Jim Vance.
But the story isn't over for the house which is affectionately referred to as "little house that could." Vance plans to rebuild the home as a bridal cottage at his North Carolina property, The Vineyard at 37 High Holly.
And this from the end of the article. The house dates from 1903.

Jane Day, president of Research Atlantica Incorporated said, "the county and South Florida lost an educational opportunity. It's not so much about the Stambaugh cottage, but more about what living around Lake Worth was like a hundred years ago."

Keep it civil |

Palm Beach is still reeling from last week's election and the campaign season that led up to it. The last thing you want to be in Palm Beach is to be rude. Politeness and courtesy is general the way of the world over on the island. However, the gloves came off in this recent election, with a significant amount of resources dedicated to besmirch your opponent. Not all is over and done with as they have another election on the PUD-5 ordinance which may bring its own brand of craziness and over-the-top representations (or more likely misrepresentations) of fact. Click title for link for the Shiny Sheet editorial on the topic. 
We have come to expect bitter, no-holds-barred fighting in presidential elections. But small-town Palm Beach campaigns traditionally have been more civil — with debates, luncheons and meet-and-greets.
This year, they turned ugly fast. David Rosow, who did not seek a fourth term, was correct when he said political attacks have sunk the town to an “impossible new low.”
With five candidates vying for two seats, it was high-spirited until mean-spirited fliers turned up in residents’ mailboxes.

Why Climate Change Denial Is Biggest Conservative Lie of All –

Interesting and hard-hitting article on climate change and global warming from a Jewish perspective. It's time that the deniers face the music and stop distorting the reality of what is happening around us. Click title for link. From the article:
Are conservatives ever right?
They were wrong about slavery, wrong about women’s suffrage, wrong about segregation, wrong about gay rights. They were wrong about trickle down economics – it’s never worked and never will, as the ballooning wealth gap proves once again. They were wrong about Iraq (where are those WMD’s, anyway?) and wrong about Vietnam before it. They’re even wrong about evolution (in which only 43% of Republicans believe).
But no error, no misguided application of ideology, no deception is more damaging than the web of lies that conservatives have spun about climate change.