Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tourism records shattered in Palm Beach County

Jennifer Sorentrue has this article in The Palm Beach Post titled, "Palm Beach County tourism off to record-breaking start in 2015". At the end of the article are some interesting data on the bed tax revenue. From the article:
     An extremely cold winter across much of the country, coupled with the burgeoning economy, sent Palm Beach County’s tourism tax collections soaring to recording-breaking levels in January, according to the county’s Tourist Development Council.
     January tourism tax revenue totaled $5 million — up more than 41 percent, or $1.5 million, from January 2014, according to county tourism officials.
     “We had a phenomenal month,” said Glenn Jergensen, executive director of the county’s Tourist Development Council. “Being at $5 million, we have never seen that in January.”
     The frigid weather that crippled much of the country this winter helped boost the county’s hotel occupancy rates early in the season and left little room for guests looking to escape the cold.
     During the first five months of the county’s budget year, tourism tax collections were up more than 21 percent over the same five-month stretch in 2013-14. The county has collected just over $15 million in tourism taxes for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, Jergensen told members of the Tourist Development Council on Thursday.
Palm Beach County has it's own tourism effort called Discover The Palm Beaches and the State of Florida tourism site is called VisitFlorida, which is the
most visited site for visitors and tourists considering a Florida vacation. Here is the VisitFlorida site that promotes the City of Lake Worth.  

Still recovering from that last bout of hysteria about the Lake Worth Pool?

The City of Lake Worth Municipal Pool is still there. I was swimming/exercising in the pool this morning.

You don't even need to take your car. Put $4 in your swimsuit, grab a towel, hop on your bike and go. It's as easy as that. Call me if you need directions; there's a bridge you need to cross.

Some sobering facts about our precious public pool:
  • $194,730 (cost to keep pool open for 29 hours a week/fiscal year)
  • $71,536 (revenue over the fiscal year)
  • $123,194 (shortfall; the vast majority of you are not doing your part)
Complain and cry all you want. Just don't get offended when I ask the last time you went swimming in our precious municipal pool.
The Lake Worth Municipal Pool: still there as of 3/21/15.

Ms. Menge's "Szerdi" obsession and she didn't publish a Crime Blotter!

Ms. Menge's obsession with John Szerdi reached a level of absurdity you won't believe. If you thought last week was odd this week's Szerdi-thon will have you scratching your head:
  • John Szerdi is mentioned in 4 articles by Ms. Menge
  • A large front page picture above-the-fold of "Szerdi"
  • Another picture of "Szerdi" and a another "Szerdi" mention on page 3 on the St. Patrick's Parade story
With so much obsession on The "Szerdi" she didn't have time to publish a Crime Blotter!
Ms. Menge also didn't correct the misspelling of John Szerdi's wife: her name is "Jamey", not "Jamie". So much for factual reporting and professional journalism.

The NBC5/WPTV shark story that's getting all that attention

Click title for link to the NBC5 story about sharks off the waters of Palm Beach County. Here is an excerpt from the text of the story on the WPTV site:
     According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sharks typically move inshore and north in the spring and summer.
     When Chopper 5 headed south along our shoreline Wednesday, it spotted hundreds of sharks, very close to shore, just off the northern part of Singer Island.
     Experts say many sharks are headed north after coming south for the winter to find warmer waters.
     Beach visitors need to be on the lookout for lifeguards flying purple flags for dangerous marine life. [emphasis added]
     However, it's important to note that you are 30 times more likely to be struck by lightning in Florida than attacked by a shark, according to FWC.
Check out this NOAA site for beach flags and what they mean (image below from NOAA).

From Andrew Marra at the Post—"Study: Palm Beach County students learn less in charter schools"

You can also see this article at the ExtraCredit blog. Andrew Marra at The Palm Beach Post sites a study that finds urban charter schools in Palm Beach County are underperforming. It's important to remember that charter schools are using tax dollars and selectively choose their students. Intuitively one would think this advantage would result in a higher student achievement levels; however, that is not the case in Palm Beach County. From the article:
     Students in Palm Beach County’s urban charter schools are learning fewer reading and math skills than similar students in nearby traditional public schools, a new study by Stanford University has found.
     The expansive report, released this week, found that in most of the 41 metropolitan areas studied nationwide, charter school students learn more or as much as demographically and academically similar students enrolled in traditional public schools in the same neighborhoods.
     But 11 Palm Beach County charter schools stood out as an unenviable exception. [emphasis added] Not only did students in the unidentified schools tend to learn less than those in nearby traditional schools, the learning gap in reading proved to be bigger than in any other metropolitan area studied.
[and . . .]
     “I think one of the things it indicates is that the district-operated schools are high-performing schools — I think that in itself contributes to that score,” said Jim Pegg, director of the Palm Beach County School District’s charter school division. “But I think the charter schools do have some difficulties.”
     “There are a few that really flourish,” he said, “but in general they’re working hard but they don’t have the resources nor the quality of teachers that the school district has.”

Instructions for a friend that is attending the water exercise class at the pool this morning. . .

A friend of mine from West Palm Beach is joining me at the water exercise class at the Lake Worth pool this morning. This was our conversation on Facebook messenger about it. My instructions are in bold; my friend's responses are in italics.

You go to the east end of the Lake Worth bridge - which is down to one lane going across right now.
Proceed across A1A and take the first right into the parking area. There are little kiosks dotted around the parking area. You will pass one just as you make that right turn.
I will be biking there.
You can park in that area of the lot immediately on your left. Note the number on your parking space.
Walk to the kiosk and insert your parking space #. You have to punch that number into the machine. Then you pay and get a slip. Go back to your car and put that slip in the window.

I know how to park there, just didn't know about the entrance to the pool! LOL
O.K. If you use a debit card, it is a $4 minimum and gives you two hours.

I'm paying cash cuz I'll need longer probably
If you use cash it is $2per hour.

oy, steep!
But sometimes they don't take cash. That is why I like riding my bike, much simpler.

and it's $4 minimum by debit, can you specify 3 hrs and it'd be $6? how long is the class

Anyway, park in the lower lot and you will see the pool area on the hill behind a fence.
You really only need one hour.
Class is about 45 mins.

but if we're going to the market we'll need 2 prolly
O.K. you are right. We can walk over from the pool. I will just bring my bike with me.

bought a beautiful Guy Harvey shirt there last weekend for just $10~
There is no entrance on the west side of the pool. It is on the ocean side. If you are part of the class, you don't have to pay to get in.
You pay the $5 after the class to the instructor Sally.
You will have to walk over the hill from the parking area to the east side of the pool.

I'll probably park upstairs then. Class is at 11, I"ll be there around 10:45
You can try the upper area, but it is usually full. I don't even try anymore and use the lower area.

Typing this out it really seems ridiculous that it has to be this complicated.

I know!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Important instructions when dealing with the press

The Lake Worth Herald, Part 2 of 3, the Red Cross Designer's Show House (Lake Worth 'Birthday Cake Castle')

In Part 2 of 3, Mary Lindsey's special assignment to The Lake Worth Herald continues on the Red Cross Designer's Show House (aka, the 'Birthday Cake Castle'). Here is an excerpt:
Melissa and Noe Guerra of NXG Studio in North Palm beach brought their extraordinary creativity and experience for the 10th time to this year’s Red Cross Designers’ Show House at the Birthday Cake Castle. Working alongside the architects and general contractors who were tasked with the total renovation of this space, Melissa and Noe began their effort with a contribution to the project from the Lady of the Castle with her vintage pale turquoise MixMaster. The same color is artfully sprinkled about in the selection of china and the collection of glass bottles. Every piece of equipment is top of the line as one might expect, but what these eyes had never seen is a microwave tucked so conveniently in a drawer on the island. The countertops and the island are topped with Carrera marble from Keith Granite and fabricated by Lake Worth’s own Michael Clahane of Palm Beach Kitchen and Bath. Locals know Michael as the First Gentleman of Lake Worth, husband to our Mayor, Pam Triolo.
In this issue there are 21 photographs (3 pages) highlighting the art and design work done at the Lake Worth 'Birthday Cake Castle'. Here is one:
Photo courtesy of The Lake Worth Herald.
The Lake Worth Birthday Cake Castle, this year’s 40th Red Cross Designer's Show House is open to the public now through April 4, every Monday through Friday from 10 p.m. til 4 p.m. and on Sundays from Noon until 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person or $25 apiece for a group of ten. Reservations are not required. The Birthday Cake Castle is located at One Fifth Avenue South on the border of our beautiful Bryant Park and South Palm Park Neighborhoods.

In next week's installment:
Next week in the Lake Worth Herald, more about the history of the Birthday Cake Castle, the architect, the first owners, the new owners and what it means to Lake Worth to have this fabulous Lake Worth home featured as a Red Cross Designer’s Show House.

Truth in advertising? House for sale in the City of Lake Worth

The ad below appeared in a free paper distributed in Lake Worth. 
Headline claims property is on "the Intracoastal". Constructing a dock on this property is not recommended. 
On this Google Maps view you can see why a boat dock and fishing would be problematic.
Here is a picture of the property from Zillow. Nice view of tall buildings in the Town of Palm Beach (33480).

Don't forget, it's the Evening on the Avenues TONIGHT at the Lake Worth Cultural Plaza

Tonight it's the John Zeeman Band (blues/jazz) and the Intermission Spotlight is John Brosius. Don't forget to stop by the NAPC Front Porch and get some popcorn. The weather is going to be wonderful, folks. 

Short Notice: Special Historical Presentation TONIGHT at the Woodlawn Cemetery

Tony Doris at the West Palm Beat with this interesting historical presentation:
     Local historians Janet DeVries and Ginger Pedersen will bring area pioneers to life Friday, March 20 [TONIGHT], through photos and stories of Old West Palm Beach.
     The presentation, at Woodlawn Cemetery, 1301 S. Dixie Highway, starts at 7:30 p.m. Seating is limited to 100 live people, though permanent accommodations are available. For reservations call 561-804-4900. Suggested donation is $10.

Town of Palm Beach Council President Michael Pucillo: telling it like it is

Council President Pucillo explains "adaptive management" this way:
     “We have in our shore protection plan something called adaptive management,” Pucillo said. “Adaptive management basically is a fancy term for ‘make judgments as you go.’ ” 
This comes from a story by Alese Kopf in the Palm Beach Daily News on the ongoing beach renourishment projects in Palm Beach.

The meeting Alese Kopf refers to was well attended; she reports about 50 people were there.

The Everglades National Park (ENP) and the "precipitous decline of mammals"

A sobering report released by The Royal Society Publishing on March 18th paints a very dark future for the ENP. A future with the invasive Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) destroying the fragile ecosystem. The research by Robert A. McCleery et al studied the rapid decline of the marsh rabbit population. Here is an excerpt (from the opening abstract):
To address the ongoing debate over the impact of invasive species on native terrestrial wildlife, we conducted a large-scale experiment to test the hypothesis that invasive Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) were a cause of the precipitous decline of mammals in Everglades National Park (ENP). Evidence linking pythons to mammal declines has been indirect and there are reasons to question whether pythons, or any predator, could have caused the precipitous declines seen across a range of mammalian functional groups. Experimentally manipulating marsh rabbits, we found that pythons accounted for 77% of rabbit mortalities within 11 months of their translocation to ENP and that python predation appeared to preclude the persistence of rabbit populations in ENP. On control sites, outside of the park, no rabbits were killed by pythons and 71% of attributable marsh rabbit mortalities were classified as mammal predations. Burmese pythons pose a serious threat to the faunal communities and ecological functioning of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, which will probably spread as python populations expand their range. [emphasis added]
You can read about the Marsh Rabbit here. The rabbit's Conservation Status is of "Least Concern"; although not within the ENP it seems.

Skywalk over Okeechobee Blvd makes front page, above the fold

Many times I've made the bike ride from Lake Worth to downtown West Palm Beach. There are two safe ways to go by bike: Flagler Drive is one and a meandering ride west of Dixie, along Georgia and Parker Avenues, is the other. Flagler Drive is a very safe route and bike friendly; motorists are aware of bicycles and pedestrians and you see drivers scanning left and right at intersections, most of them anyway. It gets a little more congested as you reach the West Palm downtown area depending on the day and time.

The ride west of Dixie is an entirely different story. Most of the ride is safe until you approach Okeechobee Blvd. Motorists are focused on other cars and many of them heading to I-95 and gunning it up the ramps. It's all about speed and the wide lanes that encourage that behavior. At least with that route to West Palm, you are crossing it at a traffic-lighted intersection.

Now a group of citizens has formed to deal with this hazard further east on Okeechobee and they are proposing a skywalk over Okeechobee Blvd. A skywalk would be cheaper than a tunnel. Either way, something has to be done to get pedestrians and bicyclists from one side of the boulevard to the other, safely away from the motor vehicles.

Here from the article by Tony Doris and Eliot Kleinberg (contributing):
     Prodded by a citizens’ petition that quickly fielded 1,500 signatures, city and Palm Beach County officials are preparing to meet with traffic engineers and state transportation department officials to discuss the possibility of a walkway over the eight-lane boulevard, as well as street-level safety improvements.
     No date has been scheduled, but city spokesman Elliot Cohen said Wednesday that “sooner rather than later” is the plan.
     Steven Perelman and Ruth Kurtz, co-leaders of WPB Citizens for Pedestrian Safety, say they got 900 signatures in the first weekend they brought out the petition in February calling for a skywalk. Another 600 have signed since then, said Perelman, vice president of the CityPlace South Tower property owners association.
Let's hope that FDOT embraces change and new ideas. It's time to walk the walk, so to speak.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sneak Peek at tomorrow's breaking news: a retraction in The Lake Worth Cribune!

The Lake Worth Cribune continues to ignite debate in the world of business. What secret revenue source has the Cribune stumbled on? The paper is always FREE, has almost no advertising, a scattering of classified ads yet continues to publish. Amazing. 

On the other side of the ledger the Cribune has a staff and salaries, a leased office in Downtown Lake Worth, the cost of a printed paper with front/back color, expenses, utility bills, and myriad other expenses any newspaper would incur. 

How does the Cribune do it? Should a business reporter at The Palm Beach Post take a look? A career could be made off a story such as this. 

Forming (tongue solidly in cheek): ad hoc Lake Worth citizens group to help Palm Beach (33480) make sound decisions

The City of Lake Worth cares about the Town of Palm Beach and we're seeking experts/concerned Lake Worth citizens to advise and counsel Palm Beach on how to proceed forward with their pressing issues. There are many issues in the Town of Palm Beach: density, beach renourishment, bridge access, traffic, and parking to name a few.

There are many people in the City of Lake Worth that can help. And we are happy to help Palm Beach in any way we can. We'll try to make the Town of Palm Beach an urgent topic at city boards, city commission meetings, and neighborhood groups such as the NAPC, for example.

We'll need a name for the group. I'm leaning towards Solid Advice From Across Lagoon or SAFAL for short.

We'll need a president, vice president, spokesperson, secretary, news media liaison, writers, public relations experts, people to attend Palm Beach P&Z meetings, drivers, counselors, and—most importantly—fashion and accessory professionals.

We'll need someone with access to local news media so we can get the word out, of course. As everyone knows, the printed word is the closest thing to TRUTH in the civilized world.

Please send me your suggestions here.

Were you starting to think All Aboard Florida was "dead in its tracks"?

Wrong. Jennifer Sorentrue has this in the Real Time blog:
     All Aboard Florida has opened an office in downtown West Palm Beach as crews prepare to begin rail work between Miami and West Palm Beach along the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.
     The company plans to use the 4,000-square-foot office located at 105 South Narcissus Avenue to oversee the engineering and construction of the railway. HNTB, the firm selected to manage the construction of All Aboard Florida’s Miami-to-Orlando route, will be the “lead occupant” in the office space, the private rail company said in a news release Wednesday.
Wet Dog says take the Train Tracks!

Very misleading headline in The Shiny Sheet by Lulu Ramadan (and Lewis Crampton featured again!)

Click title for link to a story in the Palm Beach Daily News, aka The Shiny Sheet, about what the Town of Palm Beach has heard regarding plans for the Lake Worth beach/Casino. This was the information that was unceremoniously leaked by Commissioner McVoy as he skulked around the Gulfstream Condominium Association.

The article is a bit confusing. The Town of Palm Beach would have no jurisdiction over what may happen at our beach and didn't weigh in prior to the recent renovation that Lake Worth undertook. They are concerned now that there might be traffic and other impacts that could affect Palm Beach.

The headline makes it seem like someone from Lake Worth gave their Planning and Zoning Board an update, which no one did. We all are still waiting for an update from the selection committee reviewing the proposals. This will come in the form of a recommendation from the committee to our Lake Worth City Commission.

This is the second article by Lulu Ramadan where she gives Lewis Crampton center stage to voice his concern over what the City of Lake Worth is doing. Here is an excerpt from the article:
     “My only concern is how does this fall under our purview,” [Town of Palm Beach] Planning & Zoning Commission Commission Chair Susan Markin said. “This has nothing to do our zoning and has nothing to do with our town.” [emphasis added]
Here is an excerpt from the first article:
     [Town of Palm Beach Council President] Pucillo said that individuals have the right to support the lawsuits or object to development, but “as a governmental entity we have to be extremely careful about intervening in the affairs of another municipality.”
On this blog did a very good job of explaining what is happening and addressed Mr. Crampton's concerns. You can read that here.

There is a lot that can be said about one city meddling in the affairs of another city. However, a comment was left at the end of the article by Lulu Ramadan by amazedandconfused that sums it up fairly well:
Thank you, Susan Markin, for sensibly stating the obvious: "This has nothing to do with our zoning and has nothing to do with our town." With so many challenges facing Palm Beach itself, why the sudden focus on what other municipalities are doing? Interesting, perhaps, but certainly not within the purview of our town's Planning & Zoning Commission!
Thank you, amazedandconfused, couldn't have said it better myself.

The Tri-Rail Coastal Link: must watch news segment by Brian Entin at NBC5/WPTV

Click title for link to story by Brian Entin at NBC5/WPTV. Mr. Entin interviews a "West Palm Beach resident" named Jesse Bailey who I know better as the host of the blog Walkable West Palm Beach. This is an excellent news story combining one of the top TV news reporters with one of the most knowledgeable sources on planning/transportation in West Palm Beach. I encourage all my readers to watch the segment.

Gabriel Osorio provides an entertaining sound effect in the story and, with the upgrades proposed, the loud train horns will be minimized to make life more tolerable for those living along the tracks such as Mr. Osorio. Train horns are regulated by federal law.

The story by Brian Entin comes on the heels of a blog post here that was posted earlier in the day (yesterday). Hopefully this story will continue to garner attention and the Coastal Link will gain increasing support from the public; a public that's going to demand better transportation infrastructure sans the reliance on the automobile: a more walkable/bikeable lifestyle here in south Florida.

[Below, for reference, is the original blog post from yesterday on the Tri-Rail Coastal Link (3/18):]

The Florida East Coast (FEC) train tracks are the tracks that go north/south through the City of Lake Worth. Freight is hauled on these tracks and soon tracks will be added for the All Aboard Florida passenger service linking Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando.

However, there's another passenger train service coming as early as 2016 that very few are aware of: the Tri-Rail Coastal Link. One of the proposed station locations is Downtown Lake Worth.

Below is a screen grab of their proposed System Map in Palm Beach County:
For someone in Lake Worth that wants to go to Miami or Orlando, for example, the trip would start with the Coastal Link in Lake Worth to the Downtown West Palm Beach Station and then a ticket on All Aboard Florida to the destination. 

It shouldn't be long before public meetings are scheduled in Palm Beach County. Stay tuned, as they say.

News on sober houses . . . not much but it's something

Unless and until the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is changed/updated sober houses will be, for the most part, beyond the control of local municipalities. All the misinformation, disinformation, and hysteria will not change that fact. However, the State of Florida is doing something (albeit within the parameters of the ADA) to provide some control as reported by Christine Stapleton at the Post On Politics blog:
     A House bill designed to ensure sober homes are safe for addicts and neighbors passed its final committee stop on Wednesday and is headed to the House floor.
     HB 21, filed by Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, would establish a process that would enable recovery residences, such as halfway houses, the opportunity to become certified by state-approved certification organizations.
     Although the certification is voluntary, the bill includes an incentive to earn certification by prohibiting substance abuse treatment centers from referring clients to recovery residences that are not certified . That prohibition would go into effect July 2016.

From Naked Politics: Tough being a Democrat in Tallahassee these days

From the Naked Politics blog at the Miami Herald is this:
     Elections matter. Just ask the 39 House Democrats who must contend with a Republican Leadership backed by a super-majority of 80 (soon to be 81) members.
     Even though their numbers give them a third of the seats in the House, the Democrats are marginalized even further because of the super-majority that Republicans secured in November by flipping six seats.
     That's best represented by the number of bills Democrats are getting heard in committees.
     According to the office of Democratic Policy Chair Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Hollywood, only 41 Democratic bills have had a hearing, or 8.9 percent of the total 462 bills through the third week. Republicans have had 406 bills heard, or 87.9 percent. About 3.2 percent, or 15 of the bills, have been bi-partisan. [emphasis added]
Read more here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Hint of Things To Come?

Lake Worth Anarchist in letter to Palm Beach Post: "Keep balance in mind as Lake Worth grows"

A Lake Worth Anarchist wrote a letter to the editor that got published. When even an Anarchist concedes that growth is necessary to solve the problems in the little City of Lake Worth, you know the message is getting through.

Of course, no letter to the editor from an Anarchist about Lake Worth would be complete without references to the "D" word ("Delray"), an "urban canyon", or selling "our beach". You need to get those talking points in, as false as they are.

And those evil "developers" have to be addressed. The Anarchist writes, "developers and others who just see only dollar bills, not lives, families and homes." Who are "others"? An Anarchist casting a very wide net. Are 'others' people such as realtors, shop owners, and architects?

The Anarchist concludes the letter with a flourish of positivity and good will:
With a balanced approach to growth, we will be the “Jewel” that this city’s originators saw and will become the future they envisioned.
There's no mention of the Indians that were displaced. Now that's progress. Also not addressed are the early days of Lake Worth when the Gulfstream Hotel was constructed, the electric plant built, roads and miles of water lines—not exactly what you would call following the Anarchist world view.

It's hard to imagine Cara Jennings or Panagioti Tsolkas approving a letter such as this from a fellow Anarchist in Lake Worth; it's unimaginable they would concede that growth is a necessary component of Lake Worth's future success. Unless, of course, that is what they want people to think they believe.

On an entirely different note, this flyer was left around the downtown in October of last year:

Large real estate transaction just west of the City of Lake Worth

From a story by Jeff Ostrowski at the Real Time blog about a property just west of Lake Worth that recently was sold:
     An office complex at 2290 10th Ave. North changed hands this week for $7.4 million, according to property records.
     The two-building project includes 104,000 square feet of office space. It’s just west of Interstate 95 in an unincorporated area. The new owner is KAS Datura of Coral Gables.
Here is that property as seen on Google Maps:
This property is located immediately east of the E-4 (Keller) Canal. You've likely driven over the canal hundreds of times without noticing it's there. On the City of Lake Worth Zoning Map (below) note the "yellow X"; the property is north and west of the city limits of Lake Worth (areas in white are unincorporated Palm Beach County). If you live in Lake Worth and would like to know your zoning visit this site provided by the City
Above is the zoning map for the Lake Worth Park of Commerce. The dark red is "Mixed Use - West (MU-W)"; the blue is "Industrial - Park of Commerce (I-POC); and the green is "Public (P) [City owned property]".

The Comprehensive List of What To Do in Lake Worth This Weekend

Check out AnnaMaria's blog for what to do this weekend. Everything from Evening on the Avenues to the most-anticipated world-renown Flolfing event by the Downtown Jewel Neighborhood Association.

McMow Art Glass, an iconic Lake Worth treasure, makes the Rickie Report

The Rickie Report by Rickie Leiter features new classes available at our local McMow Art Glass on Dixie Highway. From the article:
     Are you an artist looking to try a new medium? Have you dabbled in the glass arts previously and would love a refresher course? McMow Art Glass is the perfect place for you!
Pass on this information.

McMow Art Glass is located at 701 North Dixie Highway. The phone number is (561) 585-9011.

From A Guy on Clematis: Karaoke taken to a whole new level in West Palm

Karaoke has changed a lot since the days I was a host. I still have the box of karaoke CD's, in alphabetical order; there's not much demand for those CD's any more. The speakers ended up somewhere and the karaoke machine blew a fuse then almost caught on fire. These days karaoke is all internet-based with the host needing a computer, mics, tv screen(s), song books, a decent sound system, and the hardest thing: a loyal following (which I certainly had).

Now the whole karaoke experience has taken another leap as explained by Aaron Wormus, a guy on clematis:
     With the grand opening of SHOUT KARAOKE, the entertainment repertoire in downtown West Palm Beach has just expanded to include the completely new and exciting “Karaoke Box” experience.
     What makes SHOUT KARAOKE unique and different from any other bar offering karaoke in the West Palm Beach area is the variety of Private Rooms (“Karaoke Boxes”) that are available, suitable for anywhere from 2 to 30 guests. Each of the 11 private rooms offers a sleek, cozy atmosphere, comfortable lounge seating, a state-of-the-art karaoke system with thousands of songs to choose from, a large hi-def monitor, and a menu featuring signature cocktails and delicious food.
     SHOUT KARAOKE also has a live karaoke lounge at the center of the venue—a spacious music lounge with stylish interior, dramatic lighting to create a special environment, DJs, and sporting events projected onto a 16’ video screen.
Anyone want to come out and hear me sing Ethel Merman's "Everything's Coming Up Roses"?

The Daily Commute in San Francisco entering the digital age

Click title for video of new commuter bus in San Franciso, a bus like you've never seen before. From the article in CityLab:
     Close your eyes, listen to this video's soundtrack, and try to imagine what's happening. Are climbers cresting Everest's mighty peak? Is a physically disabled runner overcoming all odds to win the New York Marathon?
     Nope. The rousing score is touting an ad for San Francisco's new luxury-bus service, Leap Transit.
     After a couple years of testing, the private line opened this week for service between the Marina District and downtown. It's sort of the anti-Muni for the young tech crowd. 
The slogan for Leap Transit is "Your daily commute. Redesigned." It won't be long before Orlando and Miami come up with a similar service.

Golf Course Shoreline Clean-up April 11

Volunteers are needed for the Great American Cleanup effort in Lake Worth. On Saturday, April 11, join your neighbors to help clean up the shoreline of Lake Worth Lagoon and Snook Islands area, adjacent to the Lake Worth Municipal Golf Course. The area is littered with old tires, broken bits of lumber, plastic and paper trash. All are welcome to participate in this clean-up effort spearheaded by the Kiwanis Club of Lake Worth in conjunction with Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful.

Volunteers will meet at the clubhouse (located at 7th Ave N and the intracoastal) at 8 AM. You don’t have to be a Kiwanis member to join in the effort, but volunteers must be 18 years old or accompanied by a parent.

The Snook Islands area contains some of the most environmentally sensitive shoreline in Palm Beach County, providing fish hatchery and habitat for dolphins and wading birds.

All participants are asked to park in the golf course parking lot the morning of the event. Golf carts will be used to shuttle volunteers to the cleanup locations along the length of the shoreline. Plenty of garbage bags and latex gloves will be provided. Please be sure to wear old clothes, closed-toed shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats if you have them.

Pre-registration is suggested for groups of five or more. Registration form and attached. (You can email me by clicking here and I will forward the form.)

Great American Cleanup, America is the largest litter reduction and community improvement project in the USA. This national event is sponsored by more than 500 affiliates of Keep America Beautiful. Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful is assisted locally by the Solid Waste Authority.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. There are over 350,000 members in 84 countries.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The standard for Palm Beach Post editorial board: is it "the seriousness of the charge that matters”?

On March 3, 2015, Stacey Singer wrote in her endorsement of Commissioner McVoy and candidate Maier this opening line:
The key issue in Lake Worth’s municipal election seems to be trust, or the lack thereof.
On August 11, 2014 (a little less than 7 months previously) The Palm Beach Post editorial board encouraged the voters of Lake Worth to approve the LW2020 bond:
To pull Lake Worth from its underperforming past, The Post recommends a vote For Bonds.
A question for Rick Christie, Editor of the Palm Beach Post editorial board: How did you get from trusting the City of Lake Worth City Commission who worked so hard to pass the $63 million dollar bond to then endorsing the only 2 candidates that were against the bond?

Stacey Singer wrote this on March 3rd, only one week before the Lake Worth elections, about Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein:
For a couple of years, City Manager Mike Bornstein has been hosting a private buffet for commissioners before the public meeting. Bornstein insists the meetings are innocent of Sunshine Law violations. That’s probably true, but McVoy has asked the county’s inspector general for an opinion. [emphasis added]
These "private buffets" were going on during the LW2020 bond debate and that didn't bother the Palm Beach Post editorial board back then. It only became an issue 7 days before the election day in Lake Worth.

[The issue of the "private buffets" was addressed by Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. You can read about that here.]

Back to the Palm Beach Post editorial board endorsement of the Lake Worth 2020 bond plan in August 2014; here are some excerpts:
     Despite the popularity of its downtown strip and public beach, Lake Worth struggles to support basic city services. This city of 36,000 has the second-highest poverty rate in Palm Beach County, and many roads and sidewalks are crumbling and collapsing throughout it. Some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods have been so neglected that streets there have never been paved. [emphasis added]
[and . . .]
     The price tag for bringing Lake Worth into the 21st century is staggering, but this is a testament to just how long previous commissions have ignored the city’s basic needs. No one should expect road and sidewalk repairs alone to usher in a renaissance, but it is difficult to imagine one happening without them.
[and . . .]
     In a way, it’s a microcosm of a city that possesses so many attractive assets — a charming downtown, a public beach, waterfront parks, historic neighborhoods brimming with Old Florida charm — and yet has failed to improve its residents’ lives by fumbling or ignoring the hard decisions. This vote is a chance for the city to turn that disappointing history on its head.
Two of those who worked so hard to pass the Lake Worth 2020 bond, City Manager Michael Bornstein and former Commissioner John Szerdi, were treated harshly by Stacey Singer. She cast a cloud of suspicion over both of them; you can draw your own conclusions as to why.

Tom Foley, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is credited with saying, “The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it’s the seriousness of the charge that matters.”

This is the standard The Palm Beach Post editorial board uses; at least within the borders of the City of Lake Worth. A charge with no supporting evidence is acceptable.

Why the Lake Worth CRA is so crucial to the City's success

Found this RFP on the CRA's website:


The RFP release date is February 20th of this year and the submission deadline is on March 27th.

Here are some highly interesting items in the RFP:
     Dixie Highway, once a bustling retail and commercial center, continues to suffer from a myriad of old and new challenges that include older buildings, underutilized sites and land constraints. Once the “spine” or “Main Street” of the area, this area suffers from a lack of identity and character and in many areas, a lack of attractions or amenities. [emphasis added] These challenges impact community livability as more and more business is conducted outside of the City. Goods and services and local jobs are no longer provided close to home and residents leave the area to shop and work. Although demand has been predicted by previous studies, the City continues to lack retail nodes or newer office space for workers. Understanding the City’s market potential gives the City leverage with retailers and service providers. Without this understanding and a philosophy of continuous process improvement, the quality of life in a City or area will decline. Dixie Highway may move traffic in a quick fashion but the current form is not sustainable, nor can it be expected to thrive without change and direct intervention.      
     The City has recently gone through an overhaul of the land-use development regulations. The new ULDR’s and the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) should be looked at in context to the developing market. These documents are available on the City’s web site at and
[and . . .]
     The goal of this market study is to complete and assessment of the entire Lake Worth Dixie Highway corridor (from the Lantana city limit to the West Palm Beach city limit) current economic market and climate, to project its future business development potential, to analyze market sectors and shares, describe business types most appropriate for various areas and to identify opportunity sites for new business creation.
Dixie Highway in the City of Lake Worth is very underutilized. Talk of Lake Worth being a "sustainable" and "resilient" city rings hollow as people need to leave the city limits for their basic retail needs and employment opportunities.

Mango Groves Social Meeting this Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hello All-

This Thursday, our Mango Groves meeting will be a Social Meeting. We will meet at 7p at Southshores Front Patio, or inside if it is cold.

All are welcome to attend. We look forward to meeting and greeting with our Mango Neighbors and friends!

Mango Groves Neighborhood Association

CBS12/WPEC Reporter Chuck Weber: demonstrating TV news reporting done professionally

Chuck Weber does it again, showing why he's one of the most respected TV news reporters in Palm Beach County: no hyperbole, fairness to all sides, and staying to the known facts. You can watch his latest report on the Common Ground (no 's') Church story here.

[A link to Chuck Weber's interview with Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo on March 6 can be found here.]

From the text of Chuck Weber's story:
     City staff blamed a misunderstanding, saying non-profit organizations do not need business licenses.
     However, they did say an additional use such as holding regular church services would require approval, and an inspection, to make sure adequate safety features exist for the new use-- sufficient exits, for example.
     Pastor Olive said the inspection took place last week, and he was told the space complied with city requirements for gatherings, and the church could resume services.
     However, city manager Mike Bornstein told CBS12 late Monday a fire inspection still had to be arranged, but that would almost certainly happen later in the week.
Three days prior to Chuck Weber's story, on March 13, Pastor Olive was a guest on a podcast originating from Waco, Texas. The title from the podcast's website:


You can listen to that podcast here.

Charlie Crist will not run for the U.S. Senate: the rumor is answered

Charlie Crist quelled the rumor and quickly. No, he's not going to run for a U.S. Senate seat. Here from George Bennett at the Post On Politics blog and some names you might recognize:
     Whatever one thinks of Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, he’s a statewide figure who raised more than $40 million and came within 65,000 votes of winning the governorship last fall.
     So Crist’s announcement late Monday that he won’t be a candidate for any office in 2016 means Florida Democrats probably won’t field a candidate with experience running statewide in next year’s U.S. Senate race.
     The two Democrats who have shown the most conspicuous interest in the Senate race so far are Reps. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and Alan Grayson, D-Orlando — both of whom have built impressive national fundraising bases and garnered some larger attention but have never campaigned outside their respective media markets.
Charlie Crist is an asset to the Democrat Party, true. And it's also true Crist didn't turn out the Democrat numbers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties that he needed to win.

Easter Egg Hunt - Saturday, April 4th...

Proverbs 29:8 (EXB)

"People who make fun of wisdom cause trouble in a city, but wise people calm anger down."

Video from last night's Special City Commission Meeting—Commissioner Szerdi Responding to Election Results

The Economic Impact of the Arts and Historic Preservation in Palm Beach County

Jan Sjostrom, the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet) Arts Editor, has this story today on the economic impact of the arts and historic preservation here in Palm Beach County:
     Cultural and historic preservation groups are coming off a banner year. In 2014-15, elected officials fully funded the grants recommended by the Division of Cultural Affairs, setting aside nearly $43.3 million for the purpose. Another $9.2 million went to Division of Historical Resources grants.
[and . . .]
     Not long ago, dollars were much scarcer.
     “All hell broke lose during the recession,” [emphasis added] said Frank Meiners, Florida Cultural Alliance’s lobbyist. “We got cut by 92 percent. That’s when it became necessary to say not just that the arts are an intrinsically valuable thing, but that they bring tourists and create jobs.”
Look no further than the Red Cross Designer's Show House in the little City of Lake Worth to see the impact of the arts and historic preservation. For more on this, the Lake Worth "Birthday Cake Castle", read Mary Lindsey's special assignment in the Lake Worth Herald

Monday, March 16, 2015

Quaker Meeting House, 823 North A Street, Lake Worth, FL 33460

"We can build the world we want - BUT FIRST WE GOTTA SHUT THIS ONE DOWN!"
Do you want your world shut down? 

Swearing in Ceremony - Special City Commission Meeting - 3/16

 Video on the way!

Palm Beach Post editorial board circumvented the news division—a very bad precedent

"It’s healing time, folks."
—Rick Christie, Editor of the Palm Beach Post editorial board, 3/15/2015

Prior to March 3, 2015, there have been no news reports in The Palm Beach Post concerning alleged inappropriate activity by Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein, Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, or Commissioners John Szerdi and Andy Amoroso. Not one single reference.

However, that didn't stop Stacey Singer at The Palm Beach Post editorial board from "making news" in her endorsement of Commissioner Christoper McVoy and candidate Ryan Maier.

Here's some 'new information' from Stacey Singer in her endorsement of McVoy/Maier on March 3rd:
For a couple of years, City Manager Mike Bornstein has been hosting a private buffet for commissioners before the public meeting.
[and . . .]
The problem is his [Commissioner John Szerdi's] business relationships with a major city developer.
[and . . .]
[Candidate Serge] Jerome is focused on taking needed steps to raise property values. He’s likely to side with the majority.
Note that there is not one single citation to a news item backing up the conclusions of Stacey Singer. If there are, from another source possibly, they are not referenced.
  • City Manager Bornstein's "private buffet"? Vice Mayor Maxwell addresses that
  • Commissioner Szerdi's "business relationships" aren't with a "developer" in Lake Worth. He works for Hudson Holdings in Delray Beach.
  • Candidate Serge Jerome, Jr. "likely to side with the majority"?
The most disturbing part of Ms. Singer's endorsement is the unfair treatment of City Manager Michael Bornstein. She writes this:
[Michael] Bornstein insists the meetings are innocent of Sunshine Law violations. That’s probably true, but McVoy has asked the county’s inspector general for an opinion.
Ms. Singer has my email address. My readers would be very interested in proof that McVoy had sought an opinion from the PBC Inspector General, prior to March 3rd.

Ms. Singer, with the data/information she had available, made her endorsements in the City of Lake Worth elections. That is fine. What is not right is damaging the reputation of City Manager Michael Bornstein, including others. The words "Sunshine Law" should not be used lightly, especially by a member of The Palm Beach Post editorial board.

Get the Latest on the LW Golf Course

Chris Fletcher, Golf Operations Manager at the Lake Worth Golf Club, will speak at the regular Kiwanis breakfast meeting, Tuesday, March 17 at 8 AM at TooJays.
Question and answer session follows. Public welcome.

Town of Palm Beach Council President Michael Pucillo: telling it like it is

In a story by Lulu Ramadan in the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, The Shiny Sheet) titled, "Town Council to watch, wait as projects take shape across Intracoastal" is this excerpt addressing residents concern over development projects in West Palm Beach:
     Council President Michael Pucillo suggested limiting council action to “monitoring and staying informed.”
     “There is a significant issue for one municipality to get involved in another municipality,” [emphasis added] Pucillo said. “I think we would take some offense if other municipalities started doing that with us.”
     Pucillo said that individuals have the right to support the lawsuits or object to development, but “as a governmental entity we have to be extremely careful about intervening in the affairs of another municipality.”
 Well said.

CBS12/WPEC reporter JONATHAN Beaton is our local beat reporter

On January 2nd, in the spirit of the New Year, was ebullient with hope that CBS12/WPEC was ushering in a responsible journalistic standard after this report by Lauren Hills I posted on my blog:
     On New Years Eve, Lauren Hills did a story from the American Legion on Dixie Highway here in Lake Worth. It was a good story and she interviewed some local veterans who shared their wishes and concerns on the war in Afghanistan.
     The good people of Lake Worth look forward to many such stories from Channel 12 in 2015.
Earlier in that blog post made this reference to "Matthew Beaton's take on the panhandling issue". The CBS12/WPEC reporter is not Matthew Beaton, it is Jonathan Beaton. I've gone back to the blog post and made the correction.

That said, and on the subject of names, was reminded of Jonathan Beaton's story on February 10th. Three times in the text of the story Mr. Beaton misspells Commissioner Andy Amoroso's as "Amaroso". That was pointed out here. After checking again today, it's still wrong.

FPL's proposed nuclear units 6 and 7: "a major step in the process"

From Susan Salisbury at The Palm Beach Post:
     Florida Power & Light Co. first proposed adding two more nuclear reactors, dubbed units 6 and 7, at its Turkey Point plant on Biscayne Bay 20 miles south of Miami six years ago.
     Now in a major step in the process, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s staff has reached a preliminary environmental recommendation that the licenses should be issued. There’s nothing in the report submitted by FPL and reviewed by NRC staff, to prevent the granting of the licenses, the NRC said.
     The NRC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are seeking public comment on that conclusion. Interested people can comment on the draft environmental impact statement until May 22, and meetings will be conducted near Homestead sometime in April. The dates have not been announced.
If you're interested in reading the report or making a comment there is a link in the story by Susan Salisbury which includes the docket number.

St. Patrick's Day Parade in the little City of Lake Worth

If you weren't able to make the St. Patrick's Day Parade, AnnaMaria was there and took these wonderful pictures. You might see a few people you recognize. See if you can find Mayor Pam Triolo in one of the pictures; hint, she's wearing green and has a big smile.

Aioli’s Restaurant Ribbon Cutting

Even though the Aioli Restaurant is located in West Palm Beach, the owners are Lake Worth residents. I go there on occasion for lunch and it is always tasty. Convenient by bike or car. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Commissioner-elect Ryan Maier: Having to live up to Post's editorial board's expectations

Alexandra Seltzer at The Palm Beach Post included this line in her story about Ryan Maier and his exaggerated/false claim of experience on a City of Lake Worth city board:
     While this was his first political run, [Ryan] Maier is a member of the Lake Worth Sister City Board [emphasis added] and is a AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer.
The Lake Worth Sister City Board no longer exists.

It's not my intention to rehash old news but it's interesting that Commissioner-elect Maier IS NOW "a member" of a Lake Worth city board. Look, Maier and his supporters are not the first ones to twist the truth and/or greatly exaggerate experience to attain a political office. It's been done a few times in recent American history.

However, as Stacey Singer wrote in her endorsement of candidate Ryan Maier:
     The key issue in Lake Worth’s municipal election seems to be trust, or the lack thereof. The question is, which candidates are best positioned to improve that trust?
Rick Christie at the Post editorial board now claims, "It’s healing time, folks."

Mr. Christie: Tell that to the three remaining members of the majority and the city manager ("Mike" Bornstein) who've had their reputations and integrity unfairly questioned. How do you "heal" that?

City of Lake Worth Commission Meeting 9/23/14—Discussion of Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) vis-à-vis the Casino/Beach

This happened to be one of the rare times that I missed recording a City Commission meeting (due to another work-related appointment). Of course, it had to be the day the City Commission discussed the Invitation to Negotiate vis-à-vis the Lake Worth Casino/Beach. A 'enhanced' transcript of this portion of the meeting was used by persons to "connect the dots" to form conspiracy theories about the process prior to the election on March 10th.
By the way, the Lake Worth Municipal Pool is still very much there, as this picture taken today attests. There is a self-described 'journalist' (Margaret Menge) in town who opines that she is not "satisfied with the explanations of Invitation to Negotiate so far. . ." and she asks, "When and where was that discussed in a public meeting?" It should be pointed out her lack of satisfaction and ignorance of the process is by choice, given the information presented here and by the city thus far.

Hopefully this provides some answers, along with the press conference the Mayor held on March 9th in full view of the public and not behind a locked door as was alleged and is completely false.

Below, again, is a video of the discussion on the ITN at a subsequent meeting held on October 7th:

And no story about the Invitation to Negotiate would be complete without noting that Commissioner McVoy voted for this process that he now claims was "fuzzy":

Hey, Ms. "Community Newspaper Journalist", look over here . . . No locked doors!

As seen in the video below, the Mayor appeared in the Commission Chambers, with doors unlocked and no barriers to entry. Anyone who really cared about what was happening could have been there. I was there with a camera to record what was being said. I don't think me being there makes me a "political supporter."; didn't think the truth takes sides.

Mark Easton, publisher of The Lake Worth Herald was there, along with two television crews. [I think that Eliot Kleinberg from The Palm Beach Post was in the corner, but my back was to him and I was sitting in the front row so I couldn't get a real good view.] I was concentrating on what was being said. This press conference occurred at 3 p.m., in the middle of the afternoon on March 9th. Any community newspaper 'journalist' worth their salt would have made sure to be present. It was not a secret meeting. Within a few hours, it was on YouTube for everyone to see.

Oh No, Not Again. Could Charlie Crist run again?

From the Crowley Political Report is this post titled, "Charlie Crist Gets Serious About Florida Senate Race". Here is an excerpt:
     Charlie Crist adviser Kevin Cate is telling CNN that Crist is "being encouraged to seriously consider bringing the people's voice to the U.S. Senate."
     Cate's statement is being seen as Crist's first attempt to go public with the notion that he would be a Democratic candidate in 2016.
     Crist lost a 1998 Senate bid as a Republican running against Democratic incumbent Bob Graham. He lost again in 2010 against Marco Rubio who all but booted Crist from the Republican Party and forced Crist to run as an independent. Last year, the newly converted Democrat lost a close race for governor to Republican incumbent Rick Scott.
On the same topic, from a piece in The Florida Squeeze worthy of a political disclaimer is this:
     Florida’s political media, for whatever reason, sought to pain [sic] Cristt [sic] as a political opportunist. But in this era of term-limits and single-member districts the vast majority of those elected to state offices are opportunists that are constantly office-shopping. Crist was a publicity hound in the 1990s, a young Republican State Senator with ambition and in a hurry – but as a statewide elected official from 2002 to 2009 he showed the type of independence and leadership that Florida’s brightest Democrats of the 1970s and 80s had demonstrated.
It's official: The Florida Squeeze has been squeezed dry.