Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year from PBC Parks and Recreation: Check out their new magazine of events & things to do

Here's the link to the January issue of the PBC Parks and Recreation Leisure Times online magazine:
Stay up-to-date on free and affordable events and recreational opportunities taking place each month throughout Palm Beach County's park system. Sign up today to receive Leisure Times Online!
You can follow Parks and Recreation on Facebook and they're also on Twitter:
John Prince Park, right outside the City limits of Lake Worth and east of Palm Beach State College, is part of the PBC park system. Go and have some fun there real soon.

From the Post: City's Casino is "historic" again (?), more on THAT lottery ticket "in western Lake Worth", and where did that plane crash?

This year-in-review 'news' is on the heels of The Palm Beach Post's editorial page referring to the South Florida National Cemetery "in Lake Worth" which isn't in Lake Worth. The zoning map of the City is readily available using this link and the City's Wikipedia page is more accurate then the information the paper has access to. For instance, the editor's might be interested in this from the Wiki page: "The main campus of Palm Beach State College is located in unincorporated Lake Worth."

The editors at the Post don't do reporter Kevin Thompson any favors in this 2015 year-end review of the goings-on in Greenacres and Lake Worth (the two cities the reporter covers). Two of the big highlights didn't occur in either city.

The unclaimed $15 million lottery ticket sold at "Morrison Avenue east of Military Trail in western Lake Worth" wasn't in "western" Lake Worth. That location is outside the City in unincorporated Palm Beach County, or if you prefer, suburban Lake Worth. And the plane crash "just east of the Lake Worth Drive-In" is also located east of Greenacres, south of Palm Springs, and north of Atlantis. But, again, the Lake Worth Drive-In is not in Lake Worth:
The Lake Worth Drive-In is located a stones throw from Palm Springs and not near "western Lake Worth".
And the Lake Worth Casino building is "historic" again according to the Post:
Our new "charming" Casino was constructed on the site of the former historic structure (which was 94% demolished).
The Gulf Stream hotel is indeed a historic structure. Our newly "renovated" Casino is not. Somewhere in that pile of sand in the image above is what remained after the original building was mostly demolished. This is what I refer to as "the big lie". The Casino complex is a miserably failed project but the "visionaries" who pushed it through will never accept that truth. Who exactly are those "visionaries"?
The people in the photograph above aren't laughing any more. And neither are the City's residents who are left with the huge bill.
Here is another line from the City's Wiki page:
Several geographical features in Palm Beach County somewhat confusingly share the name "Lake Worth."
The Palm Beach Post, our paper of record, isn't doing much to help end this confusion. If anything, they're making it worse.

[Front page news in The Palm Beach Post today] Another homicide in Boynton Beach (and a breakdown of the homicide numbers in PBC thus far)

[Below is a post that appeared on this blog on 12/28 of last year. Mike Stucka at The Palm Beach Post penned this article titled, "Palm Beach County homicides: 2015 shaping up as 3rd deadliest" that is on the front page, above the fold, in today's (1/2) paper. The reporter has a quote from Greenacres Public Safety Director Mike Porath. If you weren't aware, Greenacres is disbanding its police department and going with PBSO like Lake Worth did. I have a question at the end of the post you might find interesting. The original post from 12/28 follows:]

With three more days to go in the year we all hope there isn't any more violence and/or murders in Palm Beach County. Last year there were 98 murders and this year that number is up to 107. It's been a real bad year thus far. That number is mostly because of one city in particular that had 22 homicides this year; more on that later. John Pacenti has this news about another homicide in Boynton Beach and an excerpt follows:
     The deadly gunplay occurred at what residents described as a block party in the 1200 block of Northwest Fourth Street. The area is a middle-class black neighborhood anchored by the Cherry Hill Mini Market, but the short block is now the scene of the second fatal shooting in two months.
     On Sunday morning, the neighborhood was filled with children playing and riding their bikes.
     As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, Boynton Beach police hadn’t identified the 18-year-old victim. He was found shot in the street and taken to Delray Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Before long the Post's LINE OF FIRE: BULLETS, BADGES, AND DEATH ON THE STREETS! will be rolled out once again. In case you didn't know, PBSO Sheriff Bradshaw is up for re-election, hence the paper's focus on deputy involved shootings. When it comes to the issue of shootings overall though, that problem is much bigger than anything PBSO is doing or not doing, and here's why (if my numbers are off please feel free to send me the correct info):
  • Total homicides so far in 2015 (as of 12/28): 107
  • Total in all PBSO patrolled areas (unincorporated county plus the eight towns/cities): 45
  • Total homicides is all towns/cities not patrolled by PBSO52
  • Total homicides in one city not patrolled by PBSO, West Palm Beach (WPB): 22
WPB is, without a doubt, the outlier statistically. For some perspective, over 20% of all the homicides thus far in 2015 occurred in WPB and the number of homicides in WPB is nearly the same total as all homicides in unincorporated PBC (24).

Here's the breakdown of other cities in PBC and those homicide numbers:
  • Lake Worth: 9
  • Greenacres: 9
  • Boynton Beach: 8
  • Wellington: 2
  • Lake Park: 3
  • Belle Glade: 4
  • Pahokee: 2
  • Royal Palm Beach: 0
Note that Greenacres will be switching to PBSO early next year. Here are all the cities and towns that currently use PBSO: Belle Glade, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Mangonia Park, Pahokee, Royal Palm Beach, South Bay and Wellington.

When the Post's LINE OF FIRE gets rolled out again ask yourself this question: Which LINE OF FIRE should the paper focus on? From PBSO deputies or what's happening almost on the front step of The Palm Beach Post located in WPB? You may also be interested in knowing this: The Post's data of police shootings ends in 2014—there is no data available at all for 2015.

Want to thank once again the Post reporters Julius Whigham II and Michelle Quigley. These two are probably more responsible for repairing the unfair reputation of the City of Lake Worth than any other reporters in PBC and you can read about that here. The data originally was gathered using Zip Codes and this was corrected going all the way back to 2009—quite a lot of diligent work. The information on the homicide totals above can be found using this link. Once again, if any of my analysis is inaccurate contact me and I'll correct the information.

It's a shame our law enforcement and crime situations have to be so politicized in the way it has been. It's not right that a city like Lake Worth becomes ground zero in the debate on whether a city should have its own PD or contract that service with PBSO but it's the climate in which we live now. Yes, Lake Worth did have 9 homicides this year but remember two of those were a double murder/suicide and another homicide, that of Tyler Etue, exposes probably the biggest contributor to crime in the City: sober homes, their operators, and the lack of supervision.

One last thing—Instead of the Post "wagging the dog" about Sheriff Bradshaw and PBSO how about a debate on this question: Should West Palm Beach consider switching to PBSO like Greenacres is doing?

Friday, January 1, 2016

An interesting observation from a reader of this blog

"There was a group in Lake Worth that wanted to upzone many of our residential neighborhoods to allow for manufacturing, sale, and promotion of products and services. The group was called the Lake Worth Artists and Cottage Entrepreneurs. Early on Comm. Maier was a supporter of this proposal and maybe still is. 
This upzoning would allow a business to open up right next door to your house in a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood. Traffic would increase, parking will become a problem, and added pressure on the city for services like trash and more demand on already crumbling water lines. The city code enforcement dept. will be tasked with enforcement but they are still trying to restore that dept. It will be pretty much anything goes if this upzoning goes through with little or no enforcement.
This upzoning would impact a vast number of city citizens negatively and definitely also impact the real estate market in a negative way. This is a quality of life issue if there ever was one.
BUT-Ryan Maier is opposed to the GS hotel rezoning for an additional 20 feet of building height that will only impact a few neighbors and greatly benefit the rest of the city and most definitely the downtown corridor. There is no doubt of the public benefit for rezoning the GS hotel.
At the next city meeting someone should bring this point up. Is the upzoning of residential neighborhoods still being considered? If so this would far greatly impact negatively the homeowners in Lake Worth. Much more than an additional 20 feet of building height which is about the width of the goal posts in the NFL"

State Senator Jeff Clemens responds to the new Senate seat boundaries

Here is a real good analysis from John Kennedy at the Post On Politics blog about the new Senate boundaries and the representation in Tallahassee. Jeff Clemens responded with this on Facebook:
     As expected, the courts have again tossed out the gerrymandered state Senate maps created by the Republican-led Legislature, and adopted one of the maps created by the League of Women Voters.
     For those who may be wondering, I plan to run for re-election where I live (strange concept, right?). Unfortunately, that may mean I would no longer represent West Palm Beach, Lake Park, Mangonia Park, Palm Beach and Riviera Beach. If so, I would be saddened to leave some of my favorite people behind. But rest assured I will continue to look out for all of those communities in Tallahassee.
     And I look forward to running for re-election this fall in the new district that now contains Delray Beach, Manalapan, Ocean Ridge, Gulf Stream and all of Boynton Beach (whereas before, I represented only part of the city), I will continue to represent Lake Worth, Lake Clarke Shores, Palm Springs, South Palm Beach, Greenacres, Atlantis, Lantana and Hypoluxo as I have for the past 6 years.
     I'm looking forward to getting to know new friends. Thanks for your support!
Like it or not, our state senator representing Lake Worth is our former mayor Jeff Clemens. There are still some hard feelings in the City over things he did and/or should have done. However, there are some crucial items coming up soon and we'll need our state senator doing what he's very good at: politics. You don't become a state senator by accident. It's about time to forget the past and focus on the future.

The issues we'll need his help with are dealing with the unscrupulous sober home operators, infrastructure such as the Park of Commerce, and the hugely important C-51 Canal boat lift.

In the video below, starting at the 3:35 mark, Senator Clemens talks about Gov. Scott's veto of the money for the City's Park of Commerce. That was a very sad day for us in Lake Worth.

News from the Plain Dealer: Hudson Holdings wins $25 million 'catalytic' tax credit for project in Cleveland

Reporter Michelle Jarboe at The Plain Dealer has this news about a Hudson Holdings project in Cleveland, Ohio. A crucial vote is scheduled in Lake Worth, Florida, on another Hudson Holdings project: the renovation and development of the Gulf Stream hotel project—you can read about that here. Below are two excerpts from the article in The Plain Dealer:
     A $270 million plan to revive a nearly vacant building at one of downtown's most visible intersections got a big boost Wednesday, with the announcement of a highly coveted, and competitive, tax-credit award.
     The former Huntington Building snagged $25 million in state tax credits reserved for "catalytic" historic-preservation projects – redevelopments packing the greatest potential economic punch. Hudson Holdings of Florida bought the massive building in June and plans to fill it with hundreds of apartments, a hotel, traditional offices, creative live-work space, retailers, restaurants and event facilities.
[and. . .]
     "Obviously we're not happy," Carney [developer John Carney and his May Co. project lost out to Hudson Holdings] said Wednesday afternoon. "We think the most important project for downtown Cleveland was the May Company project because of where it's located, because it's been dilapidated for years. And the Huntington Building is still a good-looking building.
     "By the same token," he added, "we want to congratulate the owners of the Huntington Building. It's $25 million coming to Cleveland."

[UPDATE] The Lake Worth City Commission agenda for the January 5th meeting is available on-line (Second Reading for Gulf Stream hotel rezoning)

[UPDATE: There's been a change to the agenda next Tuesday. pastor Olive is now giving the invocation. If you recall, he's the one that hold's service in a downtown bar. Now we're guaranteed to have a CBS12 news van in town next week, if not earlier:
Who knows. God willing, maybe pastor Olive will seek the "common ground" by offering a true apology for his nonsense last year?
Stay tuned but stay focused on the things that really matter; don't be distracted by the silly media chasing "shiny objects". We've got more important things to do. The original blog post from yesterday (12/31) follows:]

Use this link and scroll down to "City Commission - 2016" and click on "Full Version" to download the agenda. Note that Item 2 is now "Invocation or Moment of Silence":
Note that under this new policy commissioners Ryan Maier and Chris McVoy are free to choose a "Moment of Silence" or have someone do an invocation. For instance, either of the two can invite The Insulting Atheist Preston Smith back to do another performance if they wish.
Mayor Pam Triolo chose to have Pastor Kris Vos do the invocation. He is the presiding pastor at a newly "planted" church in Lake Worth called, "Sunlight Community Church" located at 1325 North A Street here in the City. I know a lot of people are praying real hard this new church isn't anything like the last 'church' planted in our downtown:
There never was a "War on Jesus" or a "War on Religion" but it did make for an entertaining 2015 by pastor Olive!
The hopefully brief "Sea Level Conference" presentation is item 5C on the agenda and there are two obligatory, politically helpful, and completely vapid items on the Consent Agenda (A and B). The big item, what most people undoubtedly will be there to witness, is item 10B: "Ordinance No. 2016-04 - Second Reading and Quasi-Judicial Public Hearing - rezone a portion of the Gulf Stream hotel".

Tell everyone you know to show up and support this zoning request. If you can't make it you can email any or all of the elected officials and have your comments read into the record. Here is the link to contact the members of the city commission. It was a 3-2 vote at First Reading and it's possible the next vote may (?) be 4-1 on January 5th. Here are the votes cast on December 8th:
"Stay Tuned", as they say.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beware of Loose Cows Possibly Affecting Traffic in Western PBC

For release: Dec. 31, 2015
Contact: David Walesky, 561-797-9105

Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control (ACC) has been made aware of two different situations involving loose livestock in Palm Beach County, both of which are very close to Southern Blvd. ACC is concerned about the risk that these animals pose towards motorists traveling on or near Southern Boulevard, especially in light of tonight’s festivities.

One of the cows is a somewhat wild yearling that is black in color and in the vicinity of Southern and Jog Rd.

The second location involves 2 cows and a bull, loose in the vicinity of Southern Boulevard and Lion Country Safari.

Livestock can be spooked by cars or loud noises such as fireworks. Residents who may come in contact with these animals are asked not to approach them and contact law enforcement.

With 75 days until elections in Lake Worth (from 12/31) how and when will the allies of the Anarchists roll out their PR campaign?

The Lake Worth Herald (an excerpt is below) accurately portends what is to come starting very soon in Lake Worth: the monkeywrenching, disruptions, and the political wedge strategies designed to divide and pit one community against another. Whereas some politicians seek unity for political strength the Anarchists gain their political power from division and, well, Anarchy. One of their latest efforts, the "too-White" Cuban-American boy on the mural at the CRA's La Joya Villages, turned out to be a complete disaster and backfired in spectacular fashion. They've been very quiet and licking their self-inflicted, damaged egos ever since.

But there's plenty more in their bag of tricks. The Anarchists have allies in the local print and TV news media that will be helping them. There are several newspaper reporters in the local paper of record that are sympathetic with the Anarchists and at least one editor who can be counted on to "carry the water". A local TV news station also has a reporter who will do whatever is needed to further the cause, especially in the 2–3 months prior to an election. The support from the Palm Beach/Broward New Times is a given—they're overeager puppy dogs for everything and anything Anarchist.

The Anarchist candidate from the horizontally-structured Everglades Earth First! (EEF) that is challenging Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell for the District One seat can't deny he's an Anarchist and the reporters/editors are going to have to acknowledge that fact. So what is the strategy going to be? I think I know: They're going to re-make the Anarchist candidate into the Good Anarchist as opposed to the Bad Anarchist. For instance, their PR will be This Anarchist is really just the "social justice" type and cares and loves everyone. This Anarchist isn't anything like the others who try to hurt people or damage property. But there's a little problem with that: here is one of the co-leaders of EEF, Peter "Panagioti" Tsolkas, at a recent rally in Palm Beach Gardens following the killing of Corey Jones:
A message from EEF to the community: "This County [Palm Beach County] Could Use an Uprising".
With only 75 days to go (from today, 12/31) the press' PR campaign will have to begin soon. I predict we'll be treated to two, maybe three, fluff articles about Good Anarchists (one appearing on a Sunday) culminating with an editorial strongly in support of the Good Anarchists and denouncing the Bad Anarchists. The TV news segments will be timed as needed. Will it work? Who knows. Only time will tell.

Would this be part of the transformation?
The Anarchist candidate before his Hipster makeover.
The Anarchist candidate after his makeover.
Anyhow, it will be interesting to see how the PR campaign is rolled out and who gets the byline. As it develops will keep you updated here on this blog. Below are two excerpts from the latest Lake Worth Herald editorial dated 12/31 on the EEF's month-long "Workshop" scheduled conveniently prior to elections in Lake Worth:

     "Why would Everglades Earth First choose Lake Worth to hold a month long workshop to piece together the parts for a musical “Earth First!” The Musical Winter Workshop that will take place in Lake Worth where there are “mango-tree-lined streets and February weather you’ll want to sleep outside in according to their plea for participation from across the country.
     What timing, isn’t there an election taking place in March? Begs the question, What type of musical is this if it is a musical at all? The call for performers and builders and voices of all sorts seems innocuous enough. The call for Musicians, actors, singers seems logical. But experts with ropes, and the most intriguing of all, experts with phone calls makes one wonder if this is for a musical at all or is it another little green army assault on Lake Worth politics and an effort to get “their” (the ones who are being introduced to Lake Worth for the cause and will leave Lake Worth when they are through) candidate elected."

[and. . .]

     "This gathering smells of pure Anarchy, conjured up by a few in Lake Worth who have no respect for other people’s property or quality of life.
     Maybe this should serve as a message to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw to begin making room for those who decide the laws of society in Lake Worth don’t pertain to them. Just hope PBSO is prepared to follow through with the trips to Gun Club Road to provide camping space for those attempting to disrupt the peaceful lives of the citizens of Lake Worth.
     The attendance, and disruption, will begin increasing at City Commission meetings as the elections near."

Now you can't say you are surprised when EEF puts their efforts into high gear starting in just 4 weeks.

Mary Kate Leming, editor of The Coastal Star in year-ending "wish" about sober homes

Mary Kate Leming has this year-ending "Editor's Note" for her readers and one wish is for a solution to a particularly bad problem we also have in Lake Worth: Sober homes. Here is an excerpt from her "wish for residents in 2016":
     The recovery industry’s meteoric rise over the past few years has taken almost everyone by surprise. We’ve all known family, friends or neighbors who have battled with addiction and are thankful for professionals who provided assistance for this disease. What we didn’t expect was for the sober home industry to explode when laws and a lack of regulations provided access to easy money for those who prey on the needs of others. [emphasis added]
     Now we have the fourth-largest industry in Palm Beach County giving little back to the communities where they see the most potential profit. It’s become an issue for government agencies (aka our tax dollars) to deal with. Unless recovery industry leaders step up their efforts to police their own (it’s not like they don’t have the money), it’s going to take a long time for the wheels of government to provide a solution that benefits both the communities and the growing need for addiction treatment.
Lake Worth City Manager Mike Bornstein, on the same topic, writes this in his year ending message and is titled, "Moving Forward":
     I regularly receive questions and comments about issues ranging from potholes to sober houses. In most cases our issues are not unique to Lake Worth as cities across the state are dealing with the same ones. We share our ideas through organizations such as the League of Cities and from working with them it becomes evident that all cities must consider two important factors. The first is the limits set by external entities such as the federal or state laws, and, secondly, the resources necessary to pay for a solution if one is possible.
     For example, in dealing with sober homes, cities are prohibited by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act from enacting laws that treat them differently than any other type of rental. Thinking with common sense may lead you to believe that these are businesses operating in residential areas with potential negative impacts when operated by unscrupulous owners. You may ask, “Why doesn’t the City require a special license or prohibit them altogether?” The simple answer is that as long as Congress considers a person with an addiction as protected under law, the City is greatly limited in our response. Instead, we must work with our state and federal leaders to figure out how to creatively and legally mitigate the impacts while also working for changes to the laws.
Many elected leaders are working hard to solve this problem and we can all hope a solution, even a step in the right direction, will be found in 2016.

Developer with big plans to make 1920s-era structure into apartments

Here's more news about another historic structure saved from the wrecking ball. From The Daytona Beach News-Journal is this article and an excerpt from the article:
     Greene [Solomon Greene, the owner of Greene Realty & Property Management] knows there is work to be done, saying he anticipates spending “a couple million dollars” on renovations. One of those improvements will be a new roof.
     Still, he understands the property’s value.
     “If you look in downtown DeLand, there probably is no other four-acre property that is developable,” he said.
     Major renovations could be underway this summer, Greene said, with the property possibly being ready for tenants in early 2017.
     He plans to leave the vacant part of the property as green space for tenants. Depending on their condition, existing portables on the property could be transformed into cottages, he said, or removed if they are in poor shape.
In Lake Worth at next Tuesday's (1/5) City Commission meeting will be a very big day in efforts to save our historic Gulf Stream hotel. On a hopeful and surprising note I hear a past 'No' vote just might become a 'Yes' at second reading. A 4-1 vote would send a message of unity and reconciliation to the community.

Make plans to attend this meeting and have your voice heard—don't let a few malcontents claim to be the "voice of the people". You are the people who know how much this historic renovation will do to improve the City of Lake Worth. Show up!

A moving Letter to the Editor in the Post today (along with a glaring editing error by our paper of record)

This Letter to the Editor appears in the Post's print edition today (12/31):
Will provide a link to this poignant letter later when it is available.
Unfortunately, one of the editors at The Palm Beach Post missed the error in the caption. The Post never corrects these types of errors so it's up to their readership to set the record straight. The South Florida National Cemetery IS NOT in Lake Worth. When the editor fact-checked this he/she relied on Zip Codes. The City of Lake Worth has two Zip Codes: 33460 and a part of 33461. The Zip Code for this cemetery is 33449. The South Florida National Cemetery is located almost on the edge of the Everglades well west of the Florida Turnpike and south of Wellington.

And Thank You to the writer of the letter, your thoughts are very poignant and well made. If any of my readers have never visited the South Florida National Cemetery you should go visit this impressive site and pay your respects to all our veterans who've sacrificed so much.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

[UPDATE! A visionary is vindicated!] Video—Lierre Keith, recovering vegan and author of "The Vegetarian Myth"

[To say I've had the ire of vegetarians and the anti-animal-protein crowds over the blog post below would be a huge understatement. This post continues to be one of the most viewed in the history of my blog. Every couple months or so I move it up to the top and see how long before I get my first email calling me all sorts of terrible names and instructing me do physically impossible things to myself. Anyhow, Lierre Keith has been vindicated and has now achieved the status of visionary. See the article by Susan Salisbury at the end of this post.]

Lierre Keith is a radical environmentalist, feminist, member of Deep Green Resistance, and an ex-vegan recovering from years of not consuming animal protein. In the video below she explains why she chose to be a vegan in the first place and the terrible health consequences that lifestyle had on her health.

She wrote a wildly popular book titled The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability in 2009. Ms. Keith makes a compelling case against vegetarianism and why animal protein is essential to a healthy lifestyle. This blog post continues to be one of the most viewed on this blog.

Lierre Keith, you might find interesting, is also in the forefront of the debate about transgenderism—suffice to say she's not a big fan. Here is an article in The New Yorker subtitled, "The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism". She is a very interesting woman with strong beliefs and is not shy about sharing them with the world. Enjoy the video:

UPDATE: Here is the article by Susan Salisbury at The Palm Beach Post in an article that also appears in the print edition today (12/30) on page B6, below the fold. Here are opening three paragraphs:
     New research from Carnegie Mellon University says that following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas emissions per calorie.
     The study, published in Environment Systems and Decisions, measured the changes in energy use, blue water footprint and GHG emissions associated with patterns in food consumption.
      “Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” said Paul Fischbeck, [emphasis added] professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy, in a news release about the research. “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.
That tofu salad on a bed of kale doesn't quite look the same now does it? Live a little. . .go for the chicken salad with real bacon strips!

Town of Palm Beach—Shooting Investigation

On Tuesday, 12/29/15, at approximately 10:00 pm, a shooting occurred in the area of Brazilian Avenue and South Ocean Blvd. in Palm Beach (the mid-town beach). According to witnesses, several shots were fired. Two signs were struck; in addition, a female who was on the beach was grazed on the top of her head. This female suffered non-life threatening injuries, was treated at a local hospital and released.

The Palm Beach Police Department is currently working the crime scene collecting evidence and following all leads. If anyone has information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Kendall Reyes at 561-838-5454.

Debbie Lord explains: "5 things you didn't know about the Pledge of Allegiance"

Debbie Lord penned this highly interesting article about the Pledge of Allegiance and there are five things you may not know about this short ceremony we've all stood up for many times. Here are the abbreviated 5 things you probably don't know:
  1. The pledge was written in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy. Bellamy was a socialist. [emphasis added]
  2. There was a pledge written five years before Bellamy wrote the one we use today. Col. George Blach’s pledge, which was used as often as Bellamy’s until 1923, read: "We give our heads and hearts to God and our country; one country, one language, one flag!"
  3. In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added to Bellamy’s original pledge.
  4. In 1954, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," to the pledge.
  5. The pledge consists of 31 words, and, according to the U.S. Flag Code, "should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart."
The City of Lake Worth starts all City Commission meetings with the roll call, then the "Invocation" followed by the pledge. The Pledge of Allegiance is here to stay although that's been challenged many times over the years.
The image above is from the City agenda for December 8th.
The invocation may soon become a thing of the past in the City and you'll hear about that when the agenda for January 5th's meeting is made public. If what I'm hearing is correct there just might be a lot of angry people when they find out who is giving the first invocation of 2016. Stay tuned.

From Liz Balmaseda: The Year's Best Food & Dining (or. . .the Best Of "humble", "from-the-soul dishes"?)

Liz Balmaseda has her Best Food & Dining 2015 and she focuses her list on the "unfussy" and "humble" dishes. So, Lake Worth took home one of the 18 awards from Best Charcuterie Plate or Best Deviled Eggs? No. Our little City of Lake Worth got the big goose egg: 0. Here are two short excerpts from the article that appears today (12/30) in the print edition, page spread D6–D7:
     I just may remember 2015 as the year of the down-home, comfort food fix. I’ve indulged in the year’s winding buffet of humble, local-meets-global offerings, from Southern deviled eggs to South American empanadas, chicken fried steak to crispy fried chicken, Dominican mofongo to Indian chickpea curry.
     Yes, I’ve had my share of “fancy” multi-course feasts, leisurely voyages into the sublime, including one featuring four James Beard Award-winning chefs.
[and. . .]
     I’ve scarfed up charcuterie and brunched like nobody’s business. But what lingers most deliciously at this year’s end are the unfussy, from-the-soul dishes.
Here are how the 18 categories (awards) break down by city:
  • Palm Beach: 5
  • West Palm Beach: 5
  • Jupiter: 3
  • Delray Beach: 2
  • Boca Raton: 1
  • Palm Beach Gardens: 1
  • Wellington: 1
So. . .72% of the Best Of are from just 3 cities in Palm Beach County? Maybe next year the Post can add one or two runner-ups or expand the list to include "The Best Seafood Paella" which would have to be Chef Hanlon at Benny's on the Beach. Anyhow, all you excellent, top-notch restaurants in Lake Worth will just have to keep working away and maybe one of you will make the list next year, or consider the unfathomable: moving across the bridge to Palm Beach or across the canal to West Palm Beach to get noticed:

Photo posted to Facebook by Greg Rice—Lake Ave. in Lake Worth, Florida facing east with our iconic, historic Gulf Stream Hotel

Below is another view of the Gulf Stream hotel facing west from the Town of Palm Beach (33480) across the Intracoastal waterway (aka, the Lake Worth Lagoon):

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Big news from Margaret Menge at UPI: She's on the glam beat now!

As long as Margaret Menge is kept out of the newsroom and editorial department all is good. She'd make a real good sports reporter probably. Here is glam news from Ms. Menge in a UPI article titled, "Scarlett Johansson earning equal pay for 'Avengers' ":
     [Scarlett] Johansson has acted in five movies in the Avengers series, playing Natasha Romanoff and the Black Widow in Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, due out in 2016.
     It's unclear how much Johannson was paid for any one movie, but Forbes magazine, in an August 2015 article, listed Johannson as the second-highest-paid female actress in Hollywood, having earned $35 million in a 12-month period.
     Johansson is also starring in the upcoming movie Sing, an animated musical about a koala bear who works as the owner of a once-grand theater. It's set to be released in December of 2016.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the movie about the "dapper koala" bear!
Thank you for the news, Margaret!

From The Palm Beach Post: "West Palm removes Clematis Street benches; cites homeless problem"

Reporter Kevin Thompson has this article about West Palm Beach's steps to control a problem caused by the homeless on their iconic Clematis Street in the downtown. What is particularly encouraging about this is a former Lake Worth commissioner, as will be demonstrated in a video below, has praised West Palm on how they've dealt with the homeless and, possibly, Lake Worth can follow the lead of our good municipal neighbor to the north. Here is an excerpt from the article:
      Murphy [Alan Murphy, Jr., the general manager of Pioneer Linens] estimates that up to 20 percent of potential customers avoid his store and from venturing downtown to shop because of unwanted activity.
      “It does effect our business negatively,” he said. “We’re a destination store. People who are downtown don’t just happen to pop in. People from Wellington, Jupiter, Palm Beach make it point to come to our store.”
      In an attempt to curb the problem, the city on Monday removed four public benches on Clematis Street.
      “We’ve been getting a lot of complaints from business owners and visitors about people loitering on those benches and harassing people,” said Mayor Jeri Muoio. “Our city is like any other city, but we don’t want West Palm Beach to be known for that.”
If you weren't aware, the Anarchist candidate running against Lake Worth Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell is encouraging the homeless to take over Bryant Park in Lake Worth. Should the benches be removed from Bryant Park? That will make things very inconvenient for families and visitors but if that is what it takes to make the park safe then that might be necessary due to the efforts of people like former city commissioners Joann Golden and Cara Jennings.

West Palm Mayor Jeri Muoio will catch a lot of flack from what seems like a lot of people and groups with impressive names but know this: Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler experienced much worse than anything Mayor Muoio will and he had the full wrath and ire directed at him from the pro-homeless coalition leading up to elections there. So how did Mayor Seiler do in that election?
The lesson is this: Mayor Muoio and her staff will catch hell from the editors at The Palm Beach Post, CBS12, the New Times, and maybe a few state-wide news outlets but in the end it won't matter a nickel at the polls. You see, the public, the vast majority of people you don't hear about in the media appreciate it when their leaders make the hard decisions when push comes to shove—making communities safe and those public spaces like sidewalks open for enjoyment and business.

The almost unfathomable irony is that a former commissioner here in Lake Worth, Joann Golden, praised to the hilt WPB Mayor Muoio recently at a City Commission meeting; you can watch that here: 
The end-game, it's suspected, is that some Palm Beach County communities are targets for a real large lawsuit over the issue of the homeless. Remember though, none of this has a thing to do with helping the homeless and everything to do with political objectives.

Special Edition of Worth Noting, a New Years message from City Manager Mike Bornstein called, “One City”

To sign up for the City's Newsletter use this link. To read the entire newsletter by the Lake Worth city manager use this link

"Aside from the Mayor and Commissioners, I am the only other person in our community who is immersed on a daily basis in all the difficult problems we face as a City. While we live in paradise, there are many issues and most times we creatively come up with an effective, efficient and legal way to deal with them. However, sometimes we fail to get beyond the legal authority granted to us by state law and/or our limited resources due to our financial condition.

As City Manager, I also get to fully appreciate the tremendous value of what we are and what we have as a community. Lake Worth citizens: the friends, families, neighbors, business owners and visitors who inhabit and enjoy the many wonderful places, buildings and shared spaces each day are what really make Lake Worth that special place. It is truly a place to call home and unlike any other in the county."

[and. . .]

"As for problems like potholes and the poor condition of our streets throughout the City, the fact is that there is not enough money to cover the costs. The money currently available for streets just pays to patch potholes, make small repairs, and do an occasional project in coordination with a utility project that must be done under the pavement. Citizens ask about grant money and there is only one source for residential streets called a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). It is based on our poverty rate, which is around 30%. The Commission has been investing this money into Greenway and roadway projects such as 10th Avenue South and the upcoming Barton Road and Tropical Drive project. Again, we are coordinating with a much needed water line replacement project there. The CDBG grant is approximately $250,000 a year, so it is nowhere enough to solve the problem citywide which would require well over $50 million just to catch up."

[and lastly. . .]

"In the past couple of years we have developed a new website, created a newsletter insert in the utility bill, set up a Twitter account, and most recently started an email newsletter and an online electric utility map to check outages. In the coming year we will be working to open more lines of communication by creating a Facebook page. We are also exploring specialized online engagement for people who do not attend meetings, improved surveys, and more traditional town hall meetings across the City. Solutions to the issues that concern you start with you getting involved. We are committed to doing a better job of giving you all the information you need to understand the issues and to provide input.

Lake Worth is known for how passionate the citizens are about our City. As City Manager, I believe that what joins us is greater than anything that separates us. While sometimes extreme points of view dominate the discussion, most everyone I see genuinely cares about our City, its future, and wants the best for all. We face many challenges in the coming years and the only way we will be able to meet them is by seeking out the points where we agree and working through those areas where we do not agree as a community. We are well on our way of being the best version of ourselves – One City."

How do you get control of the narrative after it's been hijacked? The environmentalists vs. Jon Steverson

John Kennedy at The Palm Beach Post has this article that's available online. The word hyperbolic is used in the article which gives you some idea of how entertaining a read the article is. The article might hit the print edition tomorrow which means Drew Martin's Letter to the Editor won't be too far behind. Drew, a Lake Worth resident and a remarkably well-behaved speaker at county commission meetings at public comment, is one of the golden-haired letter writers at the Post.

This latest Florida kerfuffle has to do with the DEP chief Jon Steverson and his ideas to increase revenue from the state's parks. For some this is a good idea and for others it's a terrible idea. As you'll read in the article there are already many streams of revenue from logging and other activities but it's still not enough to fill the revenue gap. 

The DEP's Jon Steverson is taking all the slings and arrows it would appear and state Rep. Matt Caldwell (R) is a strong candidate for The Understatement of The Year when he's quoted saying, "There’s a political element in all this". The interesting part is hearing state officials acknowledge the politics of controlling the narrative. Caldwell understands this has happened and it will be interesting to see what tactics are used to regain control. If you're a regular reader of this blog you've read many times about controlling the message and the tactics used to steal the message. Once the narrative has been hijacked it's very hard to gain control. 

All this would be a moot point, of course, if all our environmental friends here in south Florida (in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties) each got a few extra people to get out and vote. But they either couldn't, didn't, or weren't sufficiently motivated and Gov. Scott was re-elected. Some of the anger at the DEP's Steverson might be more usefully directed by all environmentalists in the state at their comrades here in south Florida. They dropped the ball in spectacular fashion and everyone who saw what happened acknowledges that now.

Anyhow, enjoy these two excerpts from John Kennedy and I'll let you know when the Drew Martin letter gets published in the Post:
     “Do I think it would be good if we could make some more money off parks, and make them a little more self-sustaining? Sure,” [state Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers] Caldwell said.
     “But we’re not talking about doing this at a park with a lake and picnic tables. Some parks are huge and this kind of activity may be just good land management,” he said.
     Caldwell, who said he will bring back the legislation for the session opening Jan. 12, said the opposition has been “hyperbolic.”
     “The narrative here really has been hijacked. There’s a political element in all this,” [emphasis added] he said.
[and. . .]
     Revenue produced at the state parks, much of it drawn from admission fees, was $64.2 million this year – covering about 80 percent of the system’s $80.3 million budget.
     Steverson [Department of Environmental Protection chief, Jon Steverson] told The Palm Beach Post that what he’s proposing is not new. Timbering currently is allowed in 34 state parks, cattle grazing in eight parks, and even hunting is authorized in a couple of Florida’s large parks.
     “To me, it’s not about money, it’s about appropriate management,” Steverson said. “But if we have the ability to also help the State Park Trust Fund, I don’t know why that’s a bad thing.”
Before long our local state representatives (House and Senate) will be staking their positions and will keep you informed on how that plays out. Stay tuned.

Norman Vincent Peale

“Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities... always see them... for they’re always there.”

Monday, December 28, 2015

[UPDATE] The Game Changer: Momentous changes may be in store for Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and many western communities

The Post's Eliot Kleinberg makes it official in this article that has yet to appear in the print edition. Too bad really—this news should have been on the front page in today's Sunday (12/27) paper.

[UPDATE: The article cited above made the front page (A1) in the print edition today, Monday, above the fold.]

To say this is big news is an understatement: Should the C-51 Canal become navigable by pleasure craft and small boats, canoes, and kayaks this will be a game changer for us in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and western communities like Palm Springs and Lake Clarke Shores. Simply put, if a lift system replaces the S-155 (the spillway control structure) between West Palm Beach and Lake Worth that will make it possible to navigate between the Intracoastal and the western lakes, one of which is Lake Osborne in John Prince Park.
The S-155 (spillway structure) is on the C-51 Canal east of Dixie Hwy and separates West Palm Beach from the City of Lake Worth. Did you know the term "spillway" is not accurate? The water released actually flows underneath the barriers, not over.
This idea has been talked about for quite some time and now it's advancing with the help of some people many of you will be familiar with. Here is an excerpt from the Post article:
     State Rep. Dave Kerner and State Sen. Jeff Clemens [emphasis added], both D-Lake Worth, whose districts include both sides of the spillway as well as parts of the chain of lakes, are working to get the money, Kerner said.
     The two are pushing for a $250,000 appropriation, funneled through the water management district, to pay for design, Kerner said. They would then go back to the Legislature in the 2017-2018 budget to try to get the money for construction.
     Kerner it could take as long as five years before the lift is in and operating. But, he said, “We’ve been moving quickly. We’ve got a great coalition.”
Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein is quoted in the article but, unfortunately, West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio is not. Shanon Materio has been working very hard to promote this idea and she should be very proud of her efforts. What was once thought unthinkable may indeed become a reality.

Not to get too far ahead but there's already rumors of a marina along the C-51—we'll leave it at that for now. As more news becomes available will share it with you on this blog. Also, soon I'll compile a list of elected officials for all of you to contact and express your support for this exciting project.

Undoubtedly there will be attempts to scuttle this project by the usual suspects. As always they'll make a lot of noise and make it seem like their numbers are far greater than they actually are. It's the standard array of tactics we've seen a thousand times before over the years. From what I hear Lake Worth Commissioner McVoy has taken a decidedly obstructionist position: not returning phone calls and being generally uncooperative. This isn't surprising by any means and we can expect the same from his cohort Commissioner Ryan Maier.

"Stay tuned" as they say and imagine some day being able to take a boat ride from Spillway Park in Lake Worth to John Prince Park. Wouldn't that be really cool?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Did a driver crash into a utility pole that snapped in half in Lake Worth last Thursday? No. But John Dzenitis at ABC25/WPBF thinks it did

To say the folks at ABC25/WPBF are challenged when it comes to understanding municipal borders is an understatement. It would probably be more accurate to describe them as institutionally clueless. The folks at NBC5/WPTV are hands down the best in this area of journalism and CBS12/WPTV is on the upward learning curve as evidenced by some recent accurate reports.

Here's the latest false news report from John Dzenitis at ABC25:
LAKE WORTH, Fla. —All lanes on Military Trail at 10th Avenue have reopened after a vehicle crashed into a utility power pole Thursday afternoon.
     Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews responded around 12:35 p.m. after a report that a vehicle had side-swiped a pickup truck and then crashed into a wooden power pole.
The good news is the woman involved in the crash is expected to be OK. The only serious issue here is the lack of accurate TV journalism.
Military Trail is west of the City of Lake Worth in unincorporated Palm Beach County, accurately referred to as suburban Lake Worth.

Lake Worth business owner and West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio in the news

This is a very interesting article from Joe Capozzi at The Palm Beach Post about a historic stained glass window that will be returned to the West Palm Beach public library. Here is an excerpt:
     If City Commissioner Shanon Materio gets her way, the window will return to the library for display next year, ending the latest in a series of storage mishaps that started in 1962.
    “It belongs to the city of West Palm Beach. It’s the city’s window,’’ she said. “My goal is to let it go home and let everybody enjoy it.’’
     Materio and her husband, Phil, who operate McMow Art Glass Studio in Lake Worth, have been the window’s unofficial guardians off and on since 1987, a role that’s part of the piece’s “complicated and convoluted story,’’ she said.
     The story starts not long after World War I, when a soldier named Joseph Conkling was killed in the Argonne Forest in France in 1918.
Shanon and Phil Materio own the McMow Art Glass gallery at 701 N. Dixie Hwy in Lake Worth. In other great news, Shanon was just re-elected to her city commission seat in West Palm Beach. Phil, along with working at the gallery, is also the president of the Tropical Ridge NAPC neighborhood association.

Here is Phil at a recent Lake Worth City Commission meeting with good news from his neighborhood here in the City: