Saturday, April 19, 2014

Flagler Memorial Bridge reopens to traffic

This is from the Shiny Sheet. It turns out that the north bridge was closed for about an hour this afternoon. Click title for link that summarizes what to expect with the bridge over the coming months.

April 19, 2014 03:27 PM The Flagler Bridge has reopened to traffic.

Well, that was quick. These notices from the Town of Palm Beach came within one minute of each other. Touchy are we?

April 19, 2014 3:26 PM The Flagler (north) Bridge is temporarily closed

The Flagler Bridge is temporarily closed due to mechanical issues, but repairs are currently underway. We will provide a notification when the bridge is back in service. In the meantime, please use the Royal Park Bridge.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Click title for a link to the famous children's story I will be reading at Bryant Park around 11:30 this morning.

Opposition to inlet expansion is growing |

Palm Beach is not happy about this new report that green-lights the dredging project. It's circling the wagons and trying to get other communities on board to oppose the project as it heads to Congress for ultimate approval. Click title for link.

A recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report supporting the project to deepen and widen portions of Lake Worth Inlet is not stopping residents, civic groups, businesses, recreational clubs and environmental groups from opposing it.
The Corps’ chief of engineers, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, signed the report Wednesday, stating the expansion plan is “technically sound, environmentally and socially acceptable, and economically justified.”
The report will now go to the assistant secretary of the Army, then to the Office of Management and Budget, before reaching Congress. There, the project is expected to win approval as part of the Water Resources Development Act.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jack Kerouac

“On soft Spring nights I'll stand in the yard under the stars - Something good will come out of all things yet - And it will be golden and eternal just like that - There's no need to say another word.” 

Why the CRA is important...

This letter to the editor appeared in today's print edition of the Palm Beach Post. It gets tiring to read the same lame arguments from people who would rather see Lake Worth stay in the economic backwater and dependent on its residential tax base to support the general fund.

First of all, the city's consultant was not "misdirected." Being the savvy citizen that he is, surely Mr. McNamara realizes that the city has a new set of Land Development Regulations that align with our recently adopted Comprehensive Plan. For eight long years, a long part of which Mr. McNamara sat on the Planning and Zoning Board, the city had an ambiguous set of land development regulations that pointed development elsewhere in Palm Beach County where the process was seen as more predictable and expectations were clearer than they were here in Lake Worth. This apparently suited some folks just fine as it was a de facto moratorium on development. From 2007 to 2012, there was no new commercial construction in Lake Worth. It wasn't until Mr. McNamara was off the Planning and Zoning Board that we were finally able to put regulations on the books that were clear, concise and responded to public concerns about how much and what kind of redevelopment was appropriate and where. The consultant was hired to demonstrate how you could come to Lake Worth and secure your approvals.

Here is slide #43 from that presentation that proclaims just that:
Later on in the presentation, this slide tells the world that you can get through the development review process in 90 days, which is much faster than other municipalities and unincorporated areas in Palm Beach County.
And another slide showed how Lake Worth has the lowest application review fees in Palm Beach County.
So, the most important charge given the consultant was to show that Lake Worth was open for business and ready for more private investment.

As far as the six prototype redevelopment sites, Mr. McNamara is correct that five of the six of them were within the CRA district. The only one that was outside the CRA was the transit (not "transient" as misidentified by the other blogger) oriented development project around the Tri-Rail station, west of I - 95. But the letter exposes Mr. McNamara's unwillingness to understand why the CRA exists in the first place.

First, let's look at the boundaries of CRA in Lake Worth.
The red line on the above map shows the boundaries of the CRA. It includes properties that front on the city's commercial corridors, downtown and some residential areas west of Dixie Hwy. These are long-standing boundaries. When the CRA was formed, under a state statute where it calls for CRAs to eliminate "slum and blight," its base property tax value was locked in and it was able to capture any tax increase over the base in order to achieve its purpose set out in the statute. Since that time, the CRA has been able to utilize that money to fund public INFRASTRUCTURE projects within the district. You can read about all the successful projects the CRA has undertaken here.

Having a CRA in place will allow "the financial burden of infrastructure and concurrency" to not come from the general fund, as claimed in Mr. McNamara's letter, but it would come from public improvement projects funded by new revenue captured from the development that the new infrastructure would support. That same infrastructure is also relied on by residents as they go up and down Dixie Hwy. turn on their water faucet or other public utility. In short, the CRA exists so that the burden of redevelopment is not on the general fund.

There are other benefits from redevelopment unrelated to the new taxes generated by a project. These include additional local jobs, retail stores that presently are not in Lake Worth that require us to get in our cars rather bike or walk to them if they were in the city, better use of resources like turning to face (rather than back-up to) the C-51 canal to take advantage of new "waterfront" property and more. Eventually, the success of the CRA will culminate when it fulfills its purpose, all the creditors are paid and property can return to the regular tax rolls and the city will then enjoy all the tax revenue produced by these projects - and deposit that revenue directly into the general fund. New redevelopment projects would also increase the number of utility customers - something that provides 2/3 of our operating budget now. Doing so would shift the tax burden more towards commercial properties and lessen the burden on non-homesteaded and higher value residential properties.

All that being said, there are significant parts of the city that are outside the limits of the CRA where redevelopment could immediately benefit the general fund. Chief among these are vacant properties along South Federal Hwy. These are larger properties that would not require assembly of ownership of some of the other prototype sites included in the presentation and are not contributing to the tax base in any meaningful way. Their vacant condition is also a blighting influence. If there was a weakness in this presentation, it was not including a potential redevelopment site in this part of the city.

I'll be picking out more parts of the presentation and talking about them here over the coming weeks.

Added later: Don't forget that part of the CRA tax capture includes the millage that Palm Beach County government levies to all municipalities. Without the existence of the CRA, that money would not stay in Lake Worth.

Larry the Lenz captures a rowdy bunch of "CUFF EAR!" Protesters in Bryant Park yesterday...

My roving photographer Larry the Lenz got another scoop today! He explained it this way: Larry was curious why a pack of beat up old cars all pulled into the lot next to the bandshell in Bryant Park. Then he saw people grabbing signs and running to the stage. Another protest!

Here is the group of cars, caught by Larry's ever-watchful gaze.
Larry did an interview with one of the protesters on the run. They were very rude and standoffish. The girl he talked to was nicknamed “Bright Eyes” and she volunteered a little information until she was whisked away by the others. The protest was organized by a group called CUFF-EAR! (Citizens United Fighting Festivals-End All Rejoicing!).  It's thought to be an off-shoot of the former Citizens are the Last to Leave PAC.

The CUFF-EAR!s teamed up with the disenfranchised in the neighborhood residents that were fighting mad about the endless festivals in the park. They were there donating their time for the cause: the end of gaiety, happiness, joyfulness and rejoicing. “Enough is enough, public parks shouldn't be fun, the music and all that gathering and laughing, it might lead to dancing,” Bright Eyes said. “It's so annoying. I have to close my windows.”

The CUFF-EAR!s then began chanting, “There will be no merriment!”  Here are some of Larry's exclusive pictures of the rabble-rousers. The group was itself making a lot of noise and the irony was lost on them, although Larry did his best to point that out.

A dramatic overhead shot of the protest - thanks Larry! Don't know how you do it.
One young lady in the group had a sign saying something about “tall buildings.” When Larry asked her about this she said it was a mistake. They keep all their signs in one big pile and she grabbed the wrong one. She wet herself at the sight of the Gulfstream.

I asked Larry for some final thoughts and he said, “What a bunch of party-poopers.” Larry himself fell ill in his attempts to cover the uprising and passed out as it was coming to a close. How he was able to get these "out of body" shots is anyone's guess.
Larry, in blue above, after fainting, near the end of the action.

This Saturday!

Hurricane & Flood Information - City of Lake Worth, FL

Wow! Check out all the hurricane and flood zone information that is on the city's website. Impressive amount of data and a number of links to maps, etc. It also says that it is important not to go by maps alone when it comes to whether or not you are in a flood zone. Everywhere can be a flood zone given the right circumstances. If you live outside a designated flood zone - a few more maps would help people interpret that - you are encouraged to look into flood insurance. Click title for link. Surprising that this information is here.

Trap, Neuter and Return: Feral Cat Program Makes Progress in Flagler Beach, But Not in Palm Coast | FlaglerLive

Calling Dustin Zacks - some people of Flagler Beach feel your  pain! They have started a trap, neuter and release program, but are now tweaking it a bit while neighboring Palm Coast is still searching for an answer. The administrative and operational burden is real, for both the residents and the city staff. Click title for link. This is one resident's plight:
Donn Pedersen of 1208 North Central Avenue in Flagler Beach sees it differently: “I have a terrible cat problem at my house,” he said. “At any given time there are 15 or 20 cats around my house.” The city’s code enforcement hasn’t been much help, though it’s issued the odd citation to the woman who keeps feeding the cats. “I’ve sent in pictures on several occasions of all the cats. It presents a real health hazard in that before I mow my grass, I have to clean up 50 to over 100 piles of cat poo. I can’t go outside to enjoy my yard in the summertime, because the cat stench is so bad. I’ve heard about the trap, neuter and release program, and so I’m here to address that, because I have this problem here. Trapping is great. Anybody wants to trap a cat, I’m all for it. Neuter ‘em, it’s a wonderful thing. You want to pay to neuter ‘em, neuter the part. It’s the release part that I have the problem with. They take the cat after they’re done and they bring ti back to the same place again. So if at the beginning of the day I have 20 cats in my yard and they’re going to bring them back again at the end of the day, I have 20 cats in my yard still. It’s the release part of this problem that doesn’t work. So I ask the question: where’s the end of this thing? Well, the cats will eventually die. OK. Well, how long before the cats die? Years. So you’re telling me I have to be able to live, not being able to enjoy my yard, and I have to clean up cat after cat all over my yard, an excessive amount, for years. It’s not healthy, it’s just not right. My life is just messed up because of all these cats, and yet everybody wants to do this release them back to the same place again.”
Pederson got support from a neighbor who called himself “in Don’s camp” and urged commissioners to find a way to exile the cats after they’ve been neutered, in what would amount to a forced relocation program.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Palm Beach County Coastal Hazard Statement as of 1:11 PM EDT on April 17, 2014

High risk of rip currents in effect until 8 PM EDT this evening...

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued a high rip current risk...which is in effect until 8 PM EDT this evening.

* Timing...through this evening.

* Impacts...hazardous swimming conditions are expected along the Palm Beach coast.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

There is a high risk of rip currents.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore...which occur most often at low spots or breaks in The Sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as jetties and piers. Heed the advice of lifeguards and the beach patrol. Pay attention to flags and posted signs.

If you become caught in a rip not panic. Remain calm and begin to swim parallel to shore. Once you are away from the force of the rip current...begin to swim back to the beach. Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current. Even a strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.

Black Box Theater at the Playhouse 4000 MILES by Amy Herzog

Black Box theater returns to the Playhouse April 24th through April 29th with the production of 4000 Miles by award winning playwright Amy Herzog! 
April 24th, 25th, 26th, 28th and 29th at 8pm

April 27th at 2pm

Tickets - $15 (General Admission)
After suffering a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip, Leo seeks solace from his feisty  grandmother Vera in her West Village apartment. Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately reach each other. 4000 MILES looks at how two outsiders find their way in today's world.  

Get your tickets now as space is limited! The last Black Box Production (2 one-act plays by Woody Allen) sold out quickly!
Performance is held at The Stonzek Studio Theater, 2 buildings east of the Playhouse Marquee. 
Call the Box Office at 561-586-6410 or click the link below  

Buy Tickets

Free Screening of ‘The City Dark’ - 4/26

A public screening of the award winning documentary ‘The City Dark: A Search for Night on a Planet that Never Sleeps’ will take place at St. Andrews Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall (100 N Palmway, Lake Worth) on Saturday, April 26th at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 2014 Lake Worth Earth Day Fest.  

The free event will begin with a special presentation by Dr. Kirt W. Rusenko, Marine Conservationist at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, who will share his insights on impacts of light pollution to humans and wildlife. 

‘The City Dark’ is a documentary that chronicles the effects of light pollution, which increasingly impacts Lake Worth residents. “Lake Worth is at a crossroads,” explains Richard Stowe, co-founder of the community organization Dark Sky Lake Worth, “because our older stock of street lighting may be replaced with bright, blue LED lighting.  This could significantly worsen light pollution within our City limits and exacerbate sky glow over neighboring Palm Beach Island”. 

Stowe hopes that screening ‘The City Dark’ will begin a community conversation about what can be done to minimize light pollution.  “It offers a new perspective on impacts and consequences of unneeded, artificial outdoor lighting.”  

These impacts include not only habitat disruption for wildlife, but also health hazards to humans.  The American Medical Association (AMA) suspects a causal relationship between breast cancer and melatonin suppression caused by artificial light. The AMA supports light pollution reduction efforts at national and state levels. 

To learn more about the impact of light pollution attend the free screening of ‘The City Dark’ on Saturday, April 26th, 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall.  

For more information contact Richard Stowe at 561-231-3509.

Great presentation at last Tuesday's City Commission meeting (4/15) by the Royal Poinciana Neighborhood Association

5 things I think I think about the Tampa Bay Times winning a 2014 Pulitzer Prize - SaintPetersBlog

What the SaintPetersBlog thinks about the Tampa Bay Times winning a Pulitzer for its local reporting. The blogger is magnanimous, but still has a bit of an ax to grind. No word about any awards for the Palm Beach Post. There was a time. Click title for link. Here are his first three observations - but I especially like #5 in the article.
1. First and foremost, it was very moving to me to see Times editor and vice president Neil Brown address the newsroom after having recently suffered a heart attack. Powerful stuff indeed.
2. As much as it pains me to write this, yesterday’s win — the Times‘ fourth since 2009 — proves again what many have long contended: that the Times‘ is the best pound-for-pound newspaper in the country. It does not have the reach or the resources of the New York Times or the Washington Post, but it clearly is doing some of the finest newspaper work … anywhere.
3. That the Times won for Local Reporting is significant because, despite it winning so many journalism awards in so many other categories, the Times has not historically brought home the hardware for local reporting. The Times’ win here kinda completes a career Grand Slam of Pulitzer wins — Editorial Writing, Feature Writing, National Reporting, and now, Local Reporting. 

Dwight L. Moody

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”

PBCTP Hosts Town Hall Meeting in May : Palm Beach County Tea Party

Click title for link to an invitation to the Palm Beach County Tea Party gathering in May. For $13 dollars, you get a sandwich and soup and a chance to hear your fellow Tea Partiers gripe at each other as there are no scheduled speakers. What does that tell you? Call now, then follow up with a call to other blogger and you might be able to car pool there as I am sure she is going. She might have some extra MREs to share so you can forgo the expensive soup and sandwich and still soak in all information. For those with a low tolerance for BS, there will be a cash bar.

All Aboard Florida president defends safety of passenger rail... |

More news about All Aboard Florida as they react to the beginning of negative public opinion about the project. Both Murphy and Frankel have written letters, using the weight of their Congressional office, which outline various concerns about the imposition the project would have on surrounding areas that may not have the benefit of stations. More public hearings are on their way since work has begun on an environmental impact statement. The private company is seeking partial federal financing in the form of a loan to assist in the infrastructure improvements related to the project. Click title for link.
The company website is being relaunched this week to provide more information to the public, company Chief Marketing Officer Julie Edwards said.
Nonetheless, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, sent his second All-Aboard letter Wednesday in as many weeks, this time to Gov. Rick Scott, calling for government officials to consider the adverse effects of the project before spending taxpayer money in direct or indirect support of the project. He asked Scott to accept the $10 million the Florida Senate has in the budget to help with quiet zones, but to “weigh the project’s detrimental effects” before putting $200 million into the Automated People Mover project at Orlando International Airport’s south terminal where the railroad has a lease for its northern station.

El Niño might be emerging, could hinder hurricanes |

Eliot Klienberg is attending the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando this week. If you aren't already following him on Twitter, this would be a good time to do so. He promises tweets throughout the week. In this article, he writes about the El Nino phenomenon. Forecasters are predicting this emergence of warm water in the Pacific. When this happens, it tends to cause conditions to be unfavorable for hurricane development in the Atlantic basin. Click title for link to article.
An El Niño weather pattern appears to be brewing in the Pacific.
That could be very good news for South Florida this hurricane season. Or not.
Historically, this phenomenon of warmer water in the Pacific Ocean, named “the child” in Spanish because it often emerges around Christmas, tends to hinder storm activity in the Atlantic. It occurs on average every two to five years — the last was in 2012 and the last strong one in 2009 — and typically persists about 12 months.

Palm Beach County approves climate change plan - Sun Sentinel

This is worth a read and the action is long overdue. Palm Beach County helped establish the compact between Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, but only now officially signed on to consider impacts from climate change in a wide variety of actions. These could include land use decisions, movement of water wells further west and other accommodations for rising sea levels. This is a Sun-Sentinel article and, of course, Drew Martin is quoted. Click title for link.
While Palm Beach County officials helped craft the four-county climate change plan that came out in 2012, Palm Beach County was the last to formally sign onto implementing its share of the plan.
Palm Beach County officials said they opted to start reaching out to local city leaders and civic groups to try to build support for the climate change efforts before approving the plan.
"We have been at the table all the while," County Mayor Priscilla Taylor said.
Questions about the extent of the climate change risk as well as the steep public costs of investing in infrastructure improvements have triggered backlash from Republicans, the tea party and other critics of government spending to enacting tougher climate change measures.
But Palm Beach County and the three other South Florida counties have opted for the better-safe-than sorry approach to preparing for climate change.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Around Lake Worth this weekend | Lake Worth every minute

Don't miss this! AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt's schedule of this weekend's upcoming events. Click title for link.

Hurricane survey: Water’s the threat, but most still fear wind |

A national survey of people's knowledge about the destructive power of hurricanes yields some broadly believed myths about their destructive power. Click title for link to the article by Eliot Kleinberg.
Despite all the public education, a staggering 84 percent of people surveyed still believe wind, not water, is the greatest threat to their safety, and base their evacuation decisions on wind speed or a storm’s category, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes said this week.
The national Harris Interactive Survey, commissioned by the nonprofit group FLASH, revealed “frightening perceptions,” FLASH said Tuesday in a release.
The survey clashes with the reality that hurricane evacuation zones are based on the threat of water, not wind, and nearly all evacuation orders reflect the threat of inland flooding and storm surge.

Proclamation of Autism Awareness Month - April 2014

Lake Worth Water Utilities Director Larry Johnson - Radio-read Water Meters and Condition of Water Lines in the City.

This presentation followed the discussion on the natural gas line replacement at the special College Park Neighborhood meeting last night (4/15/14). This is a two video playlist that lasts about 18 minutes.

From last night's special College Park NA meeting - Natural Gas Line Replacement Project

Not quite as "peppy" a presentation as the old school natural gas advertisement from the 1960s, but informative none-the-less. This is a series of three, ten minute videos done in succession that capture what was said at last night's special neighborhood meeting on the replacement of natural gas lines going on in College Park and around the city.

You really owe it to yourself to watch this as you will likely have to interact with the contractors as they attach the new line to your house. If you don't currently have natural gas service, now is a good time to look into it. You do that by calling Florida Public Utilities and they will tell you the details. Also note that the loose asphalt patches are temporary and a restoration crew will follow after the work is done. The group assembled last night was given assurance that this would be done professionally and with the same material that was there before the work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

From the draft City Commission minutes of 4/1/14

Today's Sunrise - from James Stafford Photography

President Obama statement marking one year since the Boston Marathon bombing

A modern take on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:

“Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism” book talk Thursday, April 17th

REMINDER College Park Special Meeting Tonight, Tuesday April 15

Friends and Neighbors, A reminder that we will be hosting a Special Meeting tonight with our guest, Mr. Michael Pence from Mears Group Inc. who will be taking concerns and answering questions about the work Florida Public Utilities is doing laying new gas lines all over College Park and other parts of the City. Neighbors from anywhere in Lake Worth are very welcome to join us.

Also - In response to questions and concerns that have come in regarding the installation of radio read transmitters being installed on water meters in College Park, we will have information about this pilot program and a letter from the City Water Utilities to share with everyone.

The meeting is tonight
Tuesday, April 15th
First Congregational Church
1415 North K Street.

We will be meeting in the sanctuary instead of the Fellowship Hall. Just follow the signs from the parking lot. Please share this information with friends and neighbors who may not be on our email distribution list. Thank You.

Mary Lindsey, President CPNA

Bike Friendly | West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority

Active promotion by West Palm Beach as a bicycle-friendly destination put out by its DDA. A favorite bike ride of mine is from my house in College Park, along Flagler Drive, to downtown West Palm Beach and back. The round trip is between 13 and 14 miles. Check out the map of where you can find bike storage facilities, including bike lockers. We noticed that the Lake Worth Tri-Rail station has enclosed bike locker facilities this past week. Click title for link to more information. You can see what the bike lockers at the Tri-Rail station look like in this picture:
Here is some of the content from the link:
You'll find plenty of permanent bike racks throughout downtown in addition to the temporary bike parking at large-scale events such as Sunfest. We even have bike lockers located in the Banyan Garage for a one time, non-refundable deposit of only $20. Find bicycle rack and locker locations, here. For questions or additional information about bicycle locker rentals in Downtown West Palm Beach, please call 1-800-234-7433.
For more information on how to commute on your bicycle with style,click here.

West Palm Beach alleys come alive

Eliot Kleinberg writes about the place-making event that happened in downtown West Palm Beach over the weekend. It moved entertainment to the alleys and challenged people to look at the public spaces differently. The city has increased garbage pick-up to twice a day, up from once a day, to better deal with waste generated from restaurants. Click title for link.
In November, the city said it was creating a task force to eliminate eyesores and health hazards that lurk in the downtown alleys behind its popular shops and restaurants.
Right away, it changed garbage pickup from once a day to twice a day and sent workers into alleys to do “housekeeping.” It also was considering supplementing pickup with private firms or installing a centralized cardboard compactor somewhere downtown.

No ‘Good-time Charlie’ in West Palm, Crist hits hard at Scott...

Charlie Crist was in West Palm Beach yesterday and spoke to the Forum Club. Almost 700 were in attendance. He is attempting to paint himself as an everyday guy, without a private plane, that lives "paycheck to paycheck." Hmmm. O.K. Click title for link to the Palm Beach Post article that describes his speech. Here is some of it:
In his speech, Crist blasted Scott’s record on education, the environment and renewable energy and criticized his refusal in 2011 to accept federal money for a high-speed rail project between Orlando and Tampa. Turning down the rail money made sense “only if you fly around in a private jet and don’t drive on I-4.”
Crist also brought up Scott’s private jet to attack the governor on the economy.
“Right now Florida doesn’t have an economic plan unless you count flying around in your private plane and holding press conferences and giving away taxpayer money to your buddies a plan. That may be a great way to take care of your friends and raise campaign dollars, but that’s no way to create an economy that’s built to last,” Crist said.

Detroit to launch website to auction houses for rehab | The Detroit News

Of course, Detroit's problems with slum, blight and vacant homes is on a much larger scale than what we face in Lake Worth. However, some of the ideas about repopulating vacant homes and blighted neighborhoods that work there, may work here as well.. Click title for link for the Detroit News article:
Last week, Duggan announced a neighborhood rebuilding program using federal funds in which owners are put on notice that the land bank intends to seize the homes through legal action unless they make arrangements to fix them up. The land bank will get the title in about 90 days and then auction homes that are salvageable.
The program is modeled after a similar program Duggan ran when he was the Wayne County prosecutor from 2001-03. Duggan pledged to create the program while running for mayor last summer. The initiative had 1,000 abandoned homes fixed up.
Talmer Bank also has committed $1 million to those who buy houses in the land bank auction. Talmer will provide homeowners who win the bids with a $25,000 loan forgivable at the rate of $5,000 per year. The loan forgiveness is up to a maximum of five years for each year the buyer continues to live in the home.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Land Bank Authority posted notices on 79 vacant homes in a roughly 16-block area on the city’s northwest side in the area bounded by Marygrove to the north, Puritan on the south, Greenlawn to the east and Wyoming on the west.
During the announcement, Duggan called the initiative a “bold experiment” to fix city neighborhoods and pledged the area will be noticeably different in 90 days.
“This is a historic change in Detroit’s strategy in fighting blight,” Duggan said. “We are getting away from this mindless process of demolishing everything that’s vacant. What’s different is we are attacking the entire neighborhood at once.”

Florida – Long-term predictions for Miami sea level rise could be available relatively soon | Coastal Engineering News & Subscription List

Scientists are dialing in predictions over the next 90 years about the pace and extent of sea level rise. They may come up with a solid picture by 2020 or later, which will help in planning for various infrastructure changes and impacts on the natural environment. A one meter increase over that time would have Miami streets in near constant flooding conditions. From the article, click title for link.
“That means we’ll know what to expect and have 70 years to plan. In a subject that has so much uncertainty, this gives us the gift of long-term planning.”
Conservative projections suggest that sea level could rise by .3 meters by 2100, but with acceleration, some scientists believe that number will be closer to 1 meter.
“Areas of Miami Beach could experience constant flooding,” says Price.
“The Everglades and mangroves may not be able to keep up. Mangroves are very important to South Florida, and their loss would likely mean more land erosion.
“We could see large portions of the Everglades taken over by the ocean. Areas that are freshwater today could become saltwater by 2100.”
As cities, including Miami, continue to plan for long-term solutions to sea level rise, Price says she was surprised to discover that in the span of 20 years, scientists would be in a position to predict the long-term situation for Miami and other coastal areas across the planet.
Scientists should continue to crunch the numbers every decade, says Price, creating more certainty in long-term planning–and helping develop solutions for a changing planet.

"Remembering Pete and Toshi Seeger: A Musical Tribute."

South Florida Seeger fans and comrades are “Remembering Pete and Toshi Seeger: A Musical Tribute.”
That's Sunday, May 4 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale, 3970 NW 21st Avenue, Oakland Park, FL 33309. Doors open at 1:30 for the 2 p.m. performance by many folk  and other artists, with opportunities for audience members to get involved in local causes such as those that dominated the lives of Pete and Toshi.
Folksinger and educator Rod MacDonald, event initiator and co-producer, announced that to date the following artists who have volunteered to donate their talents will be on the program Allan Aunapu, Amy Carol Webb (, Annie Wenz (, Ellen Bukstel (, Grant Livingston (,  Laurie Jennings (, Marie Nofsinger, Rod Koppelman, Rod MacDonald (, Tracy Sands (, Vanessa Gilyard.
Net ticket proceeds will be donated to furthering Seeger-aura social changes.                             
Pete Seeger's life and career carried him from singing in support of the Spanish Republicans and CIO organizing in the prelude to World War II to initiating hootananies as rent-pay parties. From warding off fascist and vigilante attacks at a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, NY, to the Top Ten on the Hit Parade with the Weavers.  From college auditoriums, summer camps and folk festivals to building an environmentally-correct log cabin on the Hudson River.  From a conviction (overturned) for Contempt of Congress for invoking the First Amendment in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee to becaming the backbone of the 1950's folk revival. While being blacklisted for decades, he popularized We Shall Overcome in the civil rights movement, initiated a remarkable environmental movement to reclaim the Hudson River, finally receiving public acclaim, remaining active in local Beacon musical and civic causes. He performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with Bruce Springsteen at a Barack Obama inauguration concert.
He  will be remembered and revered for his inimitable capacity throughout his life successfully to elicit the Meek and the Mute of all ages, races, religions and politics, in and out of tune and key, to sound  out lustily and sometimes courageously, in multi-part harmony, for Peace, Justice, Ecology, Equality and Internationalism.
He was the posthumous recipient of the first Woody Guthrie Prize for best exemplifying Woody's spirit and life's work by speaking, and singing, and organizing for and with the less fortunate through music… and serving as a positive force for social change.
Pete was recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Harvard Arts Medal, Kennedy Center Award, Presidential Medal of the Arts and membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
As important – and hopefully as a basis finally for that recognition, Pete with and without Toshi, appeared at a myriad – over 3000- small group meetings, demonstrations and concerts pro bono public around the world  to promote social justice causes. Until well into his 90s, he hand-wrote responses regularly to his thousands of contacts.
Behind, ahead of, and next to him for almost all his adult life was Toshi Aline Ohta Seeger- dancer, manager, filmmaker specializing in folk music, producer and environmental activist.
Toshi attended Manhattan's Little Red Schoolhouse and graduated from NYC's The High School of Music and Art in 1940. Six years into their marriage she and Pete moved in 1949 from Manhattan to Beacon, New York to a log cabin without running water or electricity. The foundation of Pete's personal and professional success, she took part in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. In 1965-66 she produced and directed -”Chief Cook and Bottle Washer”- a public tv series Rainbow Quest, hosted by Pete, and in 2007 executive produced the PVS documentary Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, an Academy Award recipient.
Toshi and Pete in 1966 co-founded The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and its annual Great Hudson River Revival/Clearwater Festival, to rally public support for cleaning up the Hudson River. Under Toshi's direction, of course with a cohort of activist supporters, the festival's innovations included providing sign language interpreters, wheelchair access, recycling programs, massive volunteer participation and a prominent Activist area. The festival, this year June 21-22, started as picnics to fundraise to build the Sloop Clearwater.
Some Performer (per 4/14/14) bio’s
Alan Aunapu
Amy Carol Webb
Annie Wenz: Activist Singer/Songwrier/RN has stomped her dusty musical boots in 25 countries. Her journeys are all about community, the heart of music and the little things that bring us together in  celebration.
Ellen Bukstel: An activist in the truest sense, her fundraising music videos have collectively helped to raise close to $100m for community causes such as Housing the Homeless and Assisting Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Rights.
Grant Livingston: With four CDs of original songs to his credit, Grant also teaches songwriting at Miami-Dade College and helps to coordinate the South Florida chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association.
Grant  was recently part of the Lake Worth Theatre's tribute to Pete Seeger.
Laurie Jennings
Marie Nofsinger
Rod MacDonald
Ron Koppelman
Tracy SandsVanessa Gilyard: is a native Floridian and has been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale and its choir  since 2007. She's  been influenced by Pete Seeger's music since she was five years old as a former member of the United Methodist Church, and has been performing and competing in singing competitions and performing in the orchestra since middle school. and 954-683-0498

Monday, April 14, 2014

Raft Race Announcement - Mango Groves Neighborhood Association

Hi All-

The Raft Race is coming up, and  for the first time,this year, we have the opportunity to get T-Shirts!

The NAPC is allowing sponsorship of the T-Shirts, in the form of a large or a small logo on the back of the shirt.   The cost would be $300/$150 respectively.  You may also pre-order the shirts at a lower cost than 'day of' sales.  If you would like to purchase either or both, please contact the NAPC at

We are also looking for participants to help build, decorate, design, and generally help in making our raft this year.   The theme is Art on the Water, and the Mangos have chosen Toulouse Lautrec as their artist, with a "Moulin Rouge-esque" theme.   We need people to help.  this is just about the most fun thing that happens all year. July 4th is the date, and it is only 11 weeks away!

Bryant Park's Kentucky Derby Party is also happening the first Saturday in May, and as always, it is being held at Mango Grove's own favorite SouthShore's Tavern.   Tickets are available now!   Don't miss it!  For the ladies....your best hat, and for the gentlemen....your wildest shirt...   Be there!

Monthly meeting this Thursday at Compass 7pm, and for anyone who would like to meet afterwards for a bevvie at SouthShore's

Mango Groves Neighborhood Association

Larry the Lenz - On patrol for the six prototype redevelopment sites...

My roving photographer, Larry the Lenz, was inspired by Eliot Kleinberg's article in the Palm Beach Post titled “Six plans to make Lake Worth a better place” published on April 11, 2014. In the article six sites in the City were chosen for consideration for development. Larry the Lenz thought it would be helpful to give the story some context, real world pictures of the sites if you will.

Thank you Larry for all your work! Not sure all the "selfies" are appropriate, but we admire your efforts!

Here we go. Below are the sites that were highlighted during the presentation at the Casino building.

Redevelopment Site #1

Redevelopment Site #2

Redevelopment Site #3

Redevelopment Site #4

Redevelopment Site #5

Redevelopment Site #6

Over the coming days, we will explore each one of these more thoroughly. Thanks Larry the Lenz for sacking these photos, but you might want to confine your selfies to ones taken in the bathroom mirror.

Charlie Crist to address West Palm Beach crowd - SaintPetersBlog

"Former Gov. Charlie Crist is due to speak before a large crowd in South Florida as he fights to reclaim his former office.
Crist addresses the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches on Monday." Click title for link to article.

One of West Palm Beach's promotional efforts...

This comes from 2011 and is already dated. In the middle of the pieces, we see a rendering of the ill-fated Digital Domain building. The video was probably done upon completion of their downtown's waterfront project.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

From a concerned reader: Using Bryant Park for festivals

Dear Mr. Blackman,

    I love this little town, but why do we as residents who live across the street and also a LARGE
surrounding area have to put up with the PUBLIC PARK  being used and fenced in for a festival for two weekends out of three.  Not only that, but from the photos it has become a parking lot for overnighters.  These musicians do not understand or care that the music bounces off these buildings making it almost impossible for me to sit in my condo with the sliders closed to hear TV.  Last of all I am basically a prisoner in my own home for the weekend.  Yes, I can pay $5.00 for someone to valet park my car in the boat trailer area which also is taken away from the boaters for those two weekends.  If I choose not to pay $5.00 I then park 5 blocks away and walk home with my groceries.   I believe the homeowners and surrounding area deserve a little respect.

Thank you,
Darlene Tebbe
15 S. Golfview Rd.
Lake Worth, Fl.  33460

In Palm Beach, all that glitters is not gold...

Click here for a story by Jose Lambiet on a prominent art gallery facing eviction. Click here for news about a jeweler facing lawsuits from his customers to retrieve promised cash.

Group challenges “Chapel” developer joining suit

From Eliot Kleinberg's blog, the prospective developer of the Chapel-on-the-Lake property is joining the city in defense of a lawsuit filed by a citizen group. Click title for link.
The group suing West Palm Beach to try to block construction of the controversial waterfront condominium at the Chapel-by-the-Lake site has challenged a bid by developer G.A.K. Partners to be a party in the suit.

County poised to raise tourist tax: Who should get $7 million? |

The point of contention is whether the extra money should go for beach renourishment, which some think is the major reason tourists come here to Palm Beach County in the first place. Or, should it go for more promotion and advertising, which would increase the numbers and thereby increase the total amount collected by the bed tax. Of course, since we have no decent hotel space within the city limits, with the exception of the Ixora and Silver Lions motels, it really doesn't impact Lake Worth one way or the other. By the way, included in the beach renourishment plans is $25 million for the Town of Palm Beach, one of our municipal neighbors. Click title for link to article.
Tourism is the county’s No. 1 industry with 5.5 million visitors in 2012, and it was the first sector to recover from the Great Recession. Pesquera [Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover Palm Beach County] wants more than the agency’s current $10 million for traditional advertising and marketing to compete with Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach and the Keys.
But what if Palm Beach County sells an inferior product?
“One of the main attractions to Palm Beach County is our beaches,” Deputy County Administrator Verdenia Baker said. And federal and state money is always in jeopardy and currently shrinking, she said.

Talkers, dividers, & doing the FBI’s work: New Statement from Kevin | Support Kevin Olliff And Tyler Lang, jailed animal rights activists

Click title for a link to a letter from prison. Kevin is an animal rights activist that was put in jail for being in possession of a large bolt cutter. He is serving a 2.5 year sentence in an Illinois prison. The isolation of his situation causes one to think about the world of activism. In this piece, which I found here of all places, he notes that people in the movement are more interested in tearing apart their own than actually focusing on the cause. Being an activist seems to require allegiance to a whole set of labyrinthine rules, that after a while, turns people bitter and mean. Well, that seems to be what we have left standing in Lake Worth now. It's an interesting read from a person who is presented with the gift of involuntary self-reflection. Click title for link.
 I am lucky that I will never know a fraction of those animals’ hardships, but I do know that one of the hardest aspects of life in a human prison is the constant feeling of others looking over my shoulder. Guards look over my shoulder for adherence to prison regulations, inmates look over my shoulder for conformity to their culture, feds look over my shoulder to catch me slipping on recorded phone calls and visits. There is no escape.
And yet, regrettably, this problem will not end with my incarceration. That is because the talkers and dividers in my own movement love looking over the shoulders of others. I prefer my animal rights with only four guidelines, but these people have more rules than a parole officer. They insert themselves into activist’s private lives without a warrant or probable cause. And they insist on ideological rigors unrivaled by the FBI. When it comes to taking the focus off the animals, they are better cops than the cops.
Ever hear our local band of activists talk about the evils of conformity? If you take a look at them as a group, they are almost Amish-like in their conformist zeal.

From the Discover the Palm Beaches YouTube Channel

If you're interested in viewing The Palm Beaches in a fun and engaging way, you must visit Palm Beach Segway Tours. Named #1 tour attraction on TripAdvisor, Palm Beach Segway Tours takes you on a scenic guided tour filled with interesting facts and beautiful sights. From West Palm Beach to the island of Palm Beach you will see extravagant homes and landscapes along the Lake Trail, as well as historical sites like the Flagler Museum. The Best Way to Experience Florida is via a segway tour. For more information on Palm Beach County, visit