Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our beautiful Lake Worth Beach on the Atlantic Ocean (and some not-so-beautiful stuff too)

Below are photographs taken on top of the never-properly-inspected seawall on the Lake Worth beachfront. It was a particularly beautiful day last Thursday (May 26th), with the ocean looking particularly inviting. Enjoy these pictures:
The loop road, what was once the former location of A1A, runs between the new Casino building and the seawall. I try to schedule my time so that I can take advantage of the pool when it is open. Most days I ride my trusty steed that I've had since buying it new in 1985.
This is my vintage 1985 Miyata 110 parked in the pool deck area.
And here is a picture of our beautiful Lake Worth municipal pool being enjoyed by parents and their children at one of Sally's swim classes.
That's some pretty cool stuff we are able to do and enjoy living in Lake Worth.
Here's the not-so-good-stuff lurking just east of the pool and the new Casino building complex. The following pictures were taken on the same day.
City of Lake Worth panel delivery truck.
One of two senior buses that parked in the bike lane on this particular day.
Two cars parked in area marked "No Parking". Again, in the designated bike lane.
And, being Thursday, it was time for a Mulligan's beer delivery.
The same truck looking from the seawall toward the new Casino building.
The beer truck usually is there for almost an hour, unloading kegs and cases via a dolly, with the deliveryman walking around the north side of the building to the loading area. All of these impromptu parking and loading visits which block the view of our wonderful Atlantic shoreline and pier are a product of poor site planning.

As I've commented numerous times over the years, we ended up building an entirely NEW building so it didn't have to be built in the same location and east of the Coastal Construction Control Line. If that prior City Commission understood all this at the time and wasn't falling all over themselves during a campaign cycle about how the City was going to "save the building!", we could have had a more thoughtful site plan for this 19 acre ocean property.

But they didn't think it all through and now we all have to live with the consequences of their poor planning and lack of foresight.
Nice view, huh? This beer truck makes a better door than a window. And don't blame the deliveryman. It's not his fault there isn't a proper loading dock in back of the Casino.

Memorial Day Tribute

Advice to the City on leasing the second floor space at the Casino on the beach

The second-floor space above Mulligan's at the Casino still does not have a tenant. Hard to believe isn't it? But do you remember all those promises back then?

The excerpts below are from one of those self-described experts in July of 2012 and you can read the entire prepared report using this link. The spelling, punctuation, CAPS LOCK, and illogic is because the person writing the report, we're told, speaks 16 different languages. Or is it 20? Anyhow, read this advice on how to lease the second floor space from 2012:

     "Its' second floor restaurant space, which even the simplest person knows ,is the most desirable., prime location, with Oceanbeachfrontage and view and Lake Worth Lagoon on its' West side,is in danger to the Citizens, of being made an economic loss, by the Commission genuflecting to a slick, QUICK COMMISSION WITH CHEAP CLIENTS PUSHING TO SUCKER COMMISSIONS,Realtor.
     Lake Worth City Commission are known for not protecting Citizens properties, by signing agreement undermining the financial health of the City."

[and. . .]

     "Standard price per sq..ft. Palm Beach Island  location, Oceanfront, is $35.- to $150.0 per sq. ft. that Commission never bothered to verify.The are there to promote themselves, look important with doing nothing to increase the City's revenue.This project must be paid for with restaurant leases ,as well.
     Ballroom and Downstairs elegant Loggia stores will as well.Not initiated by Commissions for 10 Years.,ignored to sabotage Citizens interests by those Commissions!"

—Dee McNamara. For more sage advice you can visit her blog using this link.

From The New York Times: "Chicago’s Murder Problem"

This NYT article hits hard. It takes on a very tough topic: race, segregation, and homicide rates.

Chicago is compared with New York City and the reporters come up with interesting observations why the murder rates are so different. They're both large cities, very racially diverse, and have populations from all socioeconomic levels. But why is the homicide rate so high in Chicago? Here are three short excerpts from the article written by Ford Fessenden and Haeyoun Park:

     There was a time when it looked as if Chicago would follow New York and Los Angeles into a kind of sustained peace. Then progress stalled in 2004, and the city has been through some harrowing years leading up to another alarming spike in homicides this year.

[and on segregation. . .]

     But segregation in New York is nothing like in Chicago: The perfectly isolated neighborhood – where every man, woman and child is the same race – is rare in New York. Less than one percent of the population lives in such areas, and most of them are white. In Chicago, 12 percent of the black population is in a census block group that is 100 percent black.

[and. . .]

     “The major underlying causes of crime are similar across cities, but the intensity of the connection between social ills and violence seems to be more persistent in Chicago,” Professor Sampson said. “You don’t get that kind of extensive social and economic segregation in many other cities.”

Scroll down this blog (or use this link) for "Interactive map of Palm Beach County homicide victims" and draw your own conclusions. Here in Palm Beach County too many in the press are focused on scoring political points than creating any space for a serious conversation about our homicide rates and those who are most at risk. That's very sad to think about.

Could all the focus on Gopher tortoises in John Prince Park be putting them at more risk from poachers and hunters?

Every now and then have a little fun and re-post this about the Gopher tortoises in John Prince Park: "A Gopher tortoise in John Prince Park—Trying to avoid cars, bike trails, curious children all over the place, and golf balls dropping from the sky all the time". Really now, would you want to be a slow-moving tortoise with such a high concentration of risks and challenges each and every day like a drive from a 9-iron or a curious kid on a field trip?

There is a very tiny group in Lake Worth and they are making a lot of noise in opposition to the Braves building a Spring Training facility in the park. One of their top PR tools is promoting the high number of Gopher tortoises in John Prince Park. Could that constant drumbeat about the number of tortoises have unintended consequences? Like getting the attention of poachers, hunters, and even the homeless looking for an easy meal?

There are many examples of poaching tortoises and here is just one, "Reward Offered in Gopher Tortoise Poaching":

"The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing 13 gopher tortoises in Indian River County, Fla.
The Case: 
     According to Indian River County Conservation Lands Manager Beth Powell, 13 tortoise shells were found this week on a quarter-acre lot on 61st Drive on the border of Wabasso Scrub Conservation Area. Gopher tortoises are listed as a threatened species in Florida.
     The animals were hit or shot and appear to have been killed sometime during the past year. They likely made up at least one-fourth of the conservation area's population of gopher tortoises. Some of the tortoises killed were about 20 years old."

Aerial view of Lake Worth beach (sometime in the 1940's)

Image from photonegative courtesy of the State Library & Archives of Florida. Note location of A1A. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Capitalism comes to the rescue and helps to save the environment: The vexing lionfish problem

Doreen Christensen at the Sun Sentinel has this news item about lionfish:

     Whole Foods is now selling fresh lionfish in seafood departments, hoping to take a bite out of the non-native, invasive species hurting Florida's offshore reefs.
     Starting Wednesday, 26 Florida Whole Foods stores began selling the whole delicate white fish for $8.99 a pound through May 31. The fish will be priced at $9.99 per pound starting June 1.

[and. . .]

     The economically-priced fish, which has 18 venomous spines, is safe to consume once the spines have been removed. "Once caught and placed on ice, the lionfish physically cannot release venom from the gland, ensuring safe consumption for shoppers," says the release. The flesh is not poisonous.

The lionfish problem is a well-known one; it's been reported on for many years ever since the invasive species was first discovered in the Florida Keys. However, not everyone has been aware of the issue and the devastation caused by this species of fish which has no natural predators to deal with in the Florida waters.

Facebook lit up the other day when a certain "conservative Republican" you'd think would be thrilled to see capitalism solve yet another environmental problem posted this:
"Anything for a dime." Huh?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Post's "Pothole" article and what's missing: Why a PAC and fear-mongering are responsible for City's poor roads

This will be very brief, folks. No need to belabor an old story. The truncated version follows:

This news in The Palm Beach Post by Kevin Thompson is hardly news at all if you've been paying attention to the City's roads and efforts to fix them. This wouldn't even be a news story if the LW2020 bond passed and the reporter briefly mentions that vote in 2014. However, what he doesn't mention is why that vote failed, by just 25 votes:
Learn about the CAUT PAC, Commissioner McVoy's fear-mongering about 'sea level rise', and how by just 25 votes the LW2020 bond vote failed using this link.
"NO NEW TAXES!" they said in 2014. And Commissioner McVoy said more needed to be known about rising sea levels so he campaigned against the bond too.

That's why we're in the position we're in now. The rest of the story, as they say.

Remember the protests earlier in the year when, to a few people, the homeless were the only issue that mattered?

It was at the height of it all (just by coincidence, you see, prior to the City's elections) that the word "curfew" was employed, there were 'protests' at City Hall, and the Commission chambers was packed with people shipped in from Ft. Lauderdale and other places as well. All because the City Commission wrote an ordinance to make the Cultural Plaza safer at night.

At the same time all this was happening there were some Lake Worth residents on business trips and vacation. Enjoy! 

"Have been getting pictures from all over the planet Earth, including from some of my blog readers, of parks being closed to the public and/or ordinances to control who uses a park during certain times of the day. It's not unusual despite what some protesters and others try to claim. It's certainly not 'draconian', or 'criminalizing' people, or even 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater', whatever that is supposed to mean. Hope you're having fun on vacation or your business travel. Sincerely, Wes."
Hope you're all having a good time!  
Literal translation of sign in the image above using Google Translator: "Evacuation plan Vigipirate 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. closed park"

Here's another one!
Translation: "Opening hours of the fountain gardens". Again, no mention of a 'curfew'.
Central Park CLOSED!

This week's "Special Assignment" news article by Mary Lindsey in The Lake Worth Herald

This is a must read article by Mary Lindsey in this week's issue (5/26) of The Lake Worth Herald, our City's paper of record since 1912. To subscribe to the Herald use this link or pick up the print edition at the City's news stand across the street from the downtown Starbucks.
The Herald is still ¢50!
Below are excerpts from the very lengthy article, in no particular order, with links added by Your's Truly:

     "Lake Worth Little Free Libraries, Inc. (Lake Worth LFL) was awarded $5,000 to fund bi-lingual children’s books for the 45 Little Free Libraries currently (or very soon to be) operating around the city. The traveling Little Free Library, used by the group to make presentations to civic groups and schools was on display for the award ceremony."

[and. . .]

     "Only moments before the Little Free Libraries grant was awarded, Renee Quinn, marketing specialist for CWS Bar and Kitchen and founding member of the Circle of Wise Women philanthropic group, along with Anthony Savoia, Managing Partner at CWS, announced that they were donating funds to purchase two more Little Free Libraries for the project. They requested that these little libraries be placed wherever they are most needed.
     CWS Bar and Kitchen, located at 522 Lucerne Avenue only recently opened in Lake Worth. Already proven to be a very popular gathering spot, CWS management and staff has also established themselves as good friends and great Lake Worth neighbors."

[and. . .]

     "Lake Worth Neighborhood Associations, Royal Poinciana and Tropical Ridge each submitted winning grant proposals. The “Royals” received $3,000 to fund 'Kids At Play', a project to add playground equipment and environmental education signage to the new greenway planned for their neighborhood. . . Tropical Ridge Neighborhood will be beautifying the greenway in their neighborhood as well with the $1,500 they were awarded." 

[and. . .]

     "For the Children, Inc., led by Reggie Durandisse, is a well-respected and tireless advocate for our children in the Osborne Community. Located in the Whispering Palm neighborhood, For The Children offers high quality, affordable pre-school, after school and family support services to foster positive physical, social, emotional cognitive growth and development."

The Herald also has news about the recent crime walk downtown, all you need to know about Memorial Day, community events, the latest at the Gray Mockingbird Community Garden, ads for local businesses and so much more.

Did you know a famous New York Yankee golfed at the Lake Worth municipal golf course?

The good folks at the Lake Worth Golf Club have this latest news about Memorial Day weekend:
Did you know Babe Ruth golfed here in Lake Worth? He did:
Here is the website for the City's golf course:

"Located at One 7th Avenue North Lake Worth Golf Course and Pro Shop has been in business since 1927. The golf course is comprised of a unique old Florida design with a scenic 6,100 yard, par-70 course located along 1.2 miles of the Intracoastal Waterway.
  • 18-hole, par 70
  • Course Flyover
  • Pro Shop
  • The Beach Club restaurant
  • Golf Lessons
  • Rental Clubs
  • Annual Memberships for residents & non-residents (memberships start on date of purchase and end one year from that date)
  • Seasonal Membership
  • Mens and Ladies Golf Association"
For tee time reservations contact the ProShop: 561-582-9713

Here is the video of the courses Hole #1:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Malcolm Cain, 1936–2016

"Malcolm Cain, 80, of Lake Worth, FL, passed away peacefully on May 24th, 2016 at Good Samaritan Hospital, West Palm Beach, FL. Born February 5th, 1936 in Jeffersonville, IN, Mr. Cain moved to Lake Worth in 1961 and opened his first barber shop on Lucerne Ave. For over 55 years Malcolm became the 'Barber of Lake Worth,' and worked until his passing."

[to pay your respects. . .]

     "A viewing will be held at All County's Del Lago Chapel, 131 S. Lakeside Drive in Lake Worth on Friday, May 27th from 6:00-8:00 pm and again on Saturday, May 28th from 10:00-11:00 am, where a funeral service will follow at 11:00 am."

Hmmm. If the Palm Beach Post is the "news partner" of NBC5/WPTV. . .

. . . then why did the Post run ads for ABC25/WPBF last weekend?
"Trust The Team That Knows Your Area"?
The team to trust in central Palm Beach County is hands-down NBC5/WPTV. Read my review of TV news using this link. Here is an excerpt:

"ABC25/WPBF I check now and then to correct them on news locations vis-à-vis the City of Lake Worth. Once in a while one of their reporters stumbles into the City by accident. The one trait all the reporters seem to share at WPBF is they couldn't find the actual City if you gave them the whole day, directions, and smoke signals. They probably think Lake Worth extends into the Everglades and a mile or so into the Atlantic Ocean as well. Pretty much everything that happens in central PBC is in 'Lake Worth'."

Here is a link to an article in the Post titled, "The Palm Beach Post, WPTV-Channel 5 announce news partnership". Here is an excerpt:

     The Post will feature Channel 5 video on its website, and The Post's print and online weather page will feature forecasts from Steve Weagle, WPTV's chief meteorologist.
     "It's a powerhouse partnership that delivers the best of both worlds for readers and viewers in our area," said Tim Burke, The Post's publisher and executive editor. [emphasis added] "We're bringing the visual medium of WPTV to Post readers and the large newsgathering force of Palm Beach Newspapers to WPTV viewers."
     The Palm Beach Daily News also will be part of the partnership with Channel 5. The Post and Daily News are owned by Cox Media Group, and Channel 5, an NBC affiliate, is owned by Scripps Media Inc.

Coyotes in Palm Beach County: Community benefits, the positive impact, and a new book titled "Coyote Settles the South"

Not long ago coyotes were reported in Greenacres, is that a bad thing? Reports are they're eating feral and roaming cats which are a big problem in Palm Beach County, especially so in Lake Worth. As WPEC/CBS12 reported last year, though, the feral cats are keeping to the lettered streets here in the City. Seriously though, watch this news report from CBS2's Weijia Jiang from Long Island City, NY:
This article in Slate raises some interesting points. First, you can hardly call coyotes a nuisance because they have a tremendous fear of humans and are virtually impossible to find. The video above is a rare one of a coyote roaming (hunting?) within a city's borders. And you could argue that coyotes are good for public health and the environment. Here is an excerpt from the article:

     Gehrt [Stanley Gehrt, head of the Cook County Coyote Project] and his team have just completed a large-scale feral cats study, which found that coyotes are repelling them from natural areas within the city. “That has a positive impact on native fauna,” Gehrt says—cats kill a lot of birds. [emphasis added]

[and. . .]

      All of this would seem to be good news for the New York metropolitan area, which could certainly use a better form of rodent control than dangerous poisons. Even a fraction of the effects seen in Chicago could help restore biodiversity, enrich parks, and counteract decades of environmental damage.
Image from Wikipedia.
Now for the new book Coyote Settles the South by John Lane described as a "personal narrative about the arrival and flourishing of the American coyote in the Southeast". Here is an excerpt from the University of Georgia Press:

Coyote Settles the South is the story of his journey through the Southeast, as he visits coyote territories: swamps, nature preserves, old farm fields, suburbs, a tannery, and even city streets. On his travels he meets, interrogates, and observes those who interact with the animals—trappers, wildlife researchers, hunters, rattled pet owners, and even one devoted coyote hugger. Along the way, he encounters sensible, yet sometimes perplexing, insight concerning the migration into the Southeast of the American coyote, an animal that, in the end, surprises him with its intelligence, resilience, and amazing adaptability.

In the end, maybe the coyote will do what it takes to save our dwindling native bird populations being killed by cats. Our local 'environmentalists' who should care have turned a blind eye to these many species of birds at risk of extinction.

Another great way to tour the City of Lake Worth: Take a Taste History Culinary Tour

Here is the news from Lynn Kalber at BocaMag:

     Try a Taste History Culinary Tour this holiday weekend, as the summer series for this tasty pastime kicks off on May 28 [see Lake Worth tour dates below]. For $45–$60 per person (children under 14 are free), you’ll spend four hours exploring historic districts with visits to bakeries, eateries, juice bars, tea bars and markets for tastings, history and food culture. With your guide, you’ll meet restaurant owners, chefs and directors/artists of the cultural centers.

[and. . .]

     June dates: June 4, West Palm Beach/Lake Worth; June 11, Lake Worth/Lantana; June 18, Delray Beach/Boynton Beach; June 25, Delray Beach/Boynton Beach. Pre-payment is required, and tickets can be purchased using this link.

You might be surprised by the answer to this question: "Guess who produces the most oil and gas in the world?"

This question and the answer comes from Grist:

     The U.S. led the world last year in producing both oil and gas [emphasis added], federal government estimates published Monday show, even as the country committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
     The U.S. was the globe’s leading producer of crude oil for the third year in a row in 2015. Government estimates show that crude oil production has continued to grow across the country, from nearly 8 million barrels of oil per day in 2008 to about 15 million in 2015. The U.S. produced about 14 million barrels per day in 2014.
     Thanks to the fracking boom, which unlocked previously hard-to-reach shale oil and gas, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s leading producer of oil in 2013. The U.S. became the top natural gas producer in 2011, and has led the world in both oil and gas production together for four years in a row.

Found this on Twitter—An idea to increase tourism this coming Fall and Winter from the European continent:

Should we send this information to our Sister City in Lappeenranta, Finland?

The Lake Worth High School Alumni Foundation's "Hats On" Luncheon

Here are the details:
  • Date: Saturday, May 28th, from 11:00 to 3:00
  • Where: The Country Club in the Great Walled City of Atlantis (190 Atlantis Blvd.)
  • Tickets are $40
  • For more information: Call 561-964-4722
The "Hat's On" social hour begins at 11:00 with lunch at 12:00. The hat contest, if you haven't been, is a show in itself—very entertaining. It's hard to believe the thought and ingenuity that is put into these creations. It's not necessary to compete if you don't want to; come and enjoy the show as a spectator.

Along with the superb lunch and hat contest there will be an awesome array of silent auction items and raffle baskets. The proceeds go to the Lake Worth High School Alumni Foundation which supports the Dollars for Scholars Foundation. That's what these fundraisers are all about! Raising scholarship money for needy and Worth-y high school graduates.

Hope to see you there.

Population growth in Palm Beach County and another look at the Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group candidate questionnnaire—Leadership or pandering?

The Anarchist Ryan Hartman received the 2016 endorsement from the Sierra Club in the last Lake Worth election and it didn't help very much. He lost in a landslide. It's not known if Hartman filled out a questionnaire or not like the ones that were used in the 2015 elections. Maybe the endorsement by the Sierra Club was never in doubt from the start?

A big question in Palm Beach County back in 2015 remains a subject of debate in the present: population growth. Where should people, families, and businesses moving to Florida relocate to? Along the I-95 corridor (and east towards the coast) or directed to other locations west, encroaching on what greenfields are left and then further west into the Everglades? What is better for the environment, more western sprawl or encourage development closer to the coast? If you're looking to groups like the Loxahatchee Sierra Club for answers, good luck with that.

Below is an actual question from the Loxahatchee Sierra Club (by Drew Martin) to Lake Worth then-Commissioner John Szerdi on a candidate questionnaire:
9. Do you think there should be a moratorium on further development within limits of the city [Lake Worth]? 
Here is John Szerdi's answer:
Why? We have excellent land development regulations with a goal of revitalizing the city. We have lots of areas to re-fill and rebuild which should take priority of any new construction on greenfields west of the city. I am a big proponent of re-vitalizing our established downtowns and neighborhoods. That is where you can live closer to many amenities without congesting our roads and interstates.
Of course, the Loxahatchee Sierra Club opposes western urban sprawl in Palm Beach County. However, is the Loxahatchee Sierra Club and Drew Martin also seriously suggesting that a city in Palm Beach County, an established urban core along the coast, have a "moratorium on further development"? Even the suggestion is absurd.

Groups like the Loxahatchee Sierra Club want to have it both ways. They want western sprawl to stop AND they are also against development along the coast as well. This is not leadership and it's not practical either. What they are offering as a solution(s) are false choices. Here is another question from the candidate questionnaire and another 'false choice':
15. How do you feel about city’s disregard for Dark Skies recommendations.
Here is Szerdi's answer:
I object to this question because it is not a real question Drew. I mentioned our direction above in number #1. We have issues balancing enough light for safety in the city between our street corners and are planning on installing better quality light (4000 degree) LED with strict cutoffs and excellent photometrics. Please follow this issue as the City brings it forward in the next month or so.
The City of Lake Worth has NEVER disregarded "Dark Skies" recommendations and you can read what the City has done using this link. There were a total of 15 questions in the questionnaire and most if not all are/were addressed by the City.

For the latest on population growth, western sprawl, a massive development project west of Lake Worth, and the enviros silence about all of this, look in the right-hand column for "Did you know 2 of '19 Best Environmentalists in South Florida' are in Lake Worth?"

Ever read a Letter to the Editor in the Post and thought "how did that nonsense ever get published?"

Read about this doozy of a letter published in the Post last year:
For those of you interested in local history, this article by Sonja Isger on the former "Jefferson Davis" school in Palm Springs is an interesting one.
Maybe those letters get published because there are so few to choose from? If you have something to say here is how you send a Letter to the Editor at The Palm Beach Post:

Send a letter to the editor: (Letters are subject to editing and must include the writer’s name, address, e-mail address and daytime phone number. Preferred length is a maximum of 200 words.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why President Barack Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in American history

From a blog reader: Notice anything a bit out of place in the image below?

Take a few moments and look at this image from the Town of Jupiter Island website and see if you can spot something a bit odd, a little out of date if you will:
From Wikipedia: Some of the wealthiest people in the United States live in Jupiter Island: Worth magazine ranked it #1 in the country for having the highest median home sale, and it has the highest per capita income of any inhabited place in the country.
So what's a bit odd? I'll have the answer below.

Since we're on the subject of city websites, you need to check out Delray Beach's new and improved site. In a word, it's amazing. Here is the link. Our City's website still gets complaints of being 'clunky' and that finding specific items can be difficult, but it's leaps and bounds over what we used to deal with. I'm fine with it for a while but some time this year it will need an overhaul.

Now back to Jupiter Island, the answer: In the left column are the most important links for their residents to take note of and one of them is "Facts about Ebola". Ooooops. To their credit the town also has a lot of information about the Zika virus also.

"Exclusive! Sneak peek at new marina tower and club in the north end"

This news comes from the city of West Palm Beach's website. Here is an excerpt:

"After YEARS of talk and planning, HERE IT IS!
     This is what the first tower and beach club at the planned Related/Rybovich north end project will look like.
     This first portion includes 132 units and a beach club along the east side of Flagler Drive between 38th and 44th streets."

Here is one of the images:
Tall Building! Tall Building! Tall Building!

"Location of Office Depot’s 'store of the future' is top secret for now"

Interesting news from business reporter Jeff Ostrowski at the RealTime blog about a "top secret" Office Depot store:

The company is testing a 15,000-square-foot “Store of the Future” that’s about half the size of the retailer’s old big-box locations.
     In a call with analysts Monday, Office Depot Chief Executive Roland Smith said he’s “very excited” about the concept. For shoppers, the smaller stores are “easier to navigate,” Smith said.
     “Our first Store of the Future opened this past February, and the initial test results have been very positive,” Smith said. “As a result, we plan to expand the test to 20 stores by the end of the year.”

[and. . .]

Office Depot isn’t divulging the store’s location.

How many construction workers does it take to stop out-of-control concrete buffer?

Sit back and enjoy this video and commentary. It's hilarious:

What if someone says this about the Lake Worth political scene: “It’s a little crazy for local politics.”

Here is how you answer if someone says Lake Worth politics is "a little crazy": It's not ordinary for any small American city to be the headquarters for an organization known to affiliate and collaborate with ecoterrorist organizations, both nationally and internationally. That organization, EarthFirst! (EF!), is led by Cara Jennings and Peter 'Panagioti' Tsolkas. EF!'s goals all along have been to destabilize this City's politics, create ill-will against PBSO and the CRA (to name just two), and distract the public in a myriad of different ways.

So you can imagine the glee and merriment when their latest effort failed miserably:
Very important: The media spin was the landslide elections last March 15th were because of campaign contributions. Don't fall for this narrative (meme): It's not true.
Here is an excerpt from an article that appeared the very next day:

     Bruce Webber, an art gallery owner, said voters made the right choice to move the city forward.
     “If we lost one seat on the commission, it would have set us back ten years,” [emphasis added] he said. “We need development and we need to fix our roads.”

The truth is all three incumbents were forced to respond to the threats by the Anarchists in Lake Worth and one of the tools at their disposal was fundraising. If JoAnn Golden et al. had not put Ryan Hartman on the ballot then fundraising would never had become an issue in this election. But they did and the rest is history. The public rallied, became engaged and highly motivated to keep this City moving forward.

It's important to keep the momentum moving forward. That's why I keep "beating the dead horse" about the last election cycle: Don't get complacent.

Growing Strong Again: The City of Lake Worth continues to improve, day after day

The City of Lake Worth has a free Newsletter called Worth Noting you can have sent to your email inbox. The first one appeared in September of last year. To sign up for the newsletter use this link. Over the last 7 months the newsletter has a lot of good news about improvements to code enforcement, street lighting, the electric utility, and many other issues of interest.

Here is the latest news about the City's Department for Community Sustainability which has these five responsibilities:
  • Building
  • Business Licenses
  • Code Compliance
  • Planning/Zoning
  • Historic Preservation 
Below are just a few of the facts from the latest newsletter concerning community sustainability. The Building Division has:
  • Issued 175 commercial permits since October 2015
  • Issued 884 residential permits since October 2015
The Business License Division since last October has:
  • Issued 3,018 residential business licenses
  • 469 commercial business licenses have been processed
  • Revenues totaling $413,975 have been collected 
The Code Compliance Division has:
  • Resolved 672 cases bringing these properties into compliance
  • Inspected 2,007 properties
  • Collected $279,718 in fines and fees since October
Boarding up, securing, and demolitions of unsafe structures in Lake Worth along with lot clearings of trash and debris.
Pretty good stuff, huh? And if you're interested in learning more news in the City of Lake Worth use this link.

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Anti-gang program raises hopes at Lake Worth elementary school"

The Post's Hannah Winston has this article which also appeared in the Sunday (5/22) print edition. Here are two excerpts:

     Now in its third year, the [anti-gang] program selects 20 at-risk, fifth-grade students at the elementary school who work once a week for 12 weeks with PBSO deputies building Lego motorized cars. For the past three years, the program helped the students create relationships with law enforcement and build confidence in themselves, with a goal to to steer them away from area gang influences.
     While deputies say they need at least five years of data to track how well the program is working, the results have been positive enough that they’re expanding the program to North Grade Elementary next school year.

[and. . .]

     “If you only had hand-me-down sneakers and you see all your friends with brand-new Nikes you can say, 'Wow (joining a gang) might be a way that I get something.’ ” she [South Grade Elementary art teacher Rebecca Hinson] said. “If your brother’s in a gang, or your cousin is in a gang and your uncle is in a gang, that might be your destiny. Unless an intervention comes in your life like this.”
     [PBSO Cpt.] Baer, who served as a Lake Worth police officer for 12 years before PBSO took over patrolling the city in 2008, said there isn’t a societal issue that Lake Worth doesn’t deal with daily.

Encourage everyone to read the entire article; it's a good read and explains a lot about what the schools, teachers, and PBSO have to deal with on a daily basis.

On a humorous side note it was Hannah Winston who was in Lake Worth last March 15th, election day. She went to polling places and tried to gauge the public mood of the voters that day, and, well, she may have been better off interviewing some different people. The election results later that night proved the City's residents were in a very different mood than the people who were interviewed. Read about that using this link and scroll down to near the bottom of that blog post.

News from NBC5/WPTV's Gabrielle Sarann

West Palm Beach and the Power of One Bike Rack

Subculture Bike Rack Story from Active Towns Initiative on Vimeo.

Joe Minicozzi asks, "What’s the value of a great downtown?"

Many of you in the Palm Beach County planning field will remember Joe Minicozzi. His ideas are written about in the blog, Smart Growth America; here is an excerpt:

     “As a community, if you have a finite limit of land, would you want $6,500 or $20,000, or $634,000 downtown an acre?” Minicozzi told Atlantic Cities. “People understand the cash-crop concept, so why aren’t we doing that downtown?”
     Minicozzi often cites an example from his hometown of Asheville. There, a Super Walmart two-and-a-half miles east of downtown is valued at a whopping $20 million—but it sits on 34 acres of land, meaning that it yields about $6,500 an acre in property taxes. A department store in downtown Asheville (that Public Interest Projects, Minicozzi’s parent company, bought and renovated) that’s now home to a beauty salon, retail, offices, and 19 condos, is worth $634,000 in tax revenue per acre—nearly ten times the property tax productivity per acre. Add sales tax revenue in to the equation and the downtown property is still worth more than six times as much as the Walmart per acre.

Something to think about when you're strolling the finite number of acres in our Lake Worth Dixie Hwy. corridor and along Lake and Lucerne avenues.

Horse Drawn School Bus: West Palm Beach—1911 from Florida on Florida

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Vote for McMow Art Glass and Shanon Materio in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Use this link to vote for McMow Art Glass located in Lake Worth. From the FedEx Grant website:

How would you use the FedEx Small Business Grant money to make a significant impact on your business?

As many small business, we took a hit from the recession. We made it through & now we are focused on our growth. Real advertising for something as visual as art glass means real dollars. A portion of this money would be designated for advertising and marketing. A portion of the funds would also go to training & hiring. Training, creating new jobs, & marketing are just a start. This grant would go along way and mean real stability.

NBC5/WPTV's Alex Hagan interviewed The Mary in Lake Worth but there's more you need to know

This is a real good news segment that focused on the proper response to an increase in the crime rate in any area or neighborhood. This report is the opposite of what you would see on CBS12/WPEC and ABC25/WPBF: they're both experts on focusing on the negative, especially as it relates to Lake Worth if you've followed them over the years. Not all of their reporters, there are exceptions, but certainly most of them.

Here is an excerpt from the text of the news segment by Alex Hagan, an interview with The Mary:

     "Recent incidents raise new concerns. Mary Lindsey is with Neighborhood Association Presidents Council [NAPC; also on Facebook]. This weeks she's pushing crime watch programs throughout the city.
     Putting up yellow signs and handing out flyers with a number to call if you see something suspicious.
     'That is a huge deterrent to crime. So hopefully these latest incidents will inspire more people to sign up for COP program as well,' says Lindsey.
     She says there are currently 8 neighborhoods with crime watch programs and is looking to add more."

The Citizens On Patrol (COP) program isn't explained in any way, which is very important to explain further. Here is an excerpt from the link above from the City's newsletter, Worth Noting:

"Captain Todd Baer has a vision to help make Lake Worth a safer place and it starts with every resident. Over the next year, he would like to grow the Sheriff’s volunteer program, Citizens on Patrol. While the program has existed a few neighborhoods, Baer envisions a city-wide effort. He would also like to educate all residents about 'Making the Call' about suspicious behavior."
Here is the video from WPTV:

The actual front page of The Palm Beach Post on Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

The headline could have been, "Leaders Urge Calm" without the question mark.
Of all the headlines the Post could have chosen. . . And right next to the "LINE OF FIRE" graphic. Frankly, if you're in the news business a riot can be great for a career. Think about all the exposure and there's also the possibility of being a special guest on CNN, quoted in The New York Times, and your image spread far and wide on the TV news.

Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Very Important! Get ready for Hurricane Season and news about Vegetation Amnesty Week

For more information on Vegetation Amnesty Week call the Public Services Refuse Department at 561-533-7344. Please check the City's Refuse Division website to learn more. From the City's press release:

The City of Lake Worth’s Refuse Division will be having a Residential Vegetation Only Amnesty Pick-Up Service beginning Monday, May 23rd and will be picked up on the following days:
  • Zone 1: Monday, May 23rd
  • Zone 2: Thursday, May 26th
  • Zone 3: Friday, May 27th
  • Zone 4: Tuesday, May 24th
The vegetation amnesty week is designed to allow residents to dispose of large amounts of vegetation prior to the commencement of Hurricane Season (not to exceed 12 cubic yards per residential property). Please place all vegetation curbside on your regular scheduled day and the City of Lake Worth’s Refuse Division will remove it at no charge.

Vegetation items are as follows:
  • Includes bagged leaves, grasses, and tree or shrubbery cuttings incidental to the care of your lawn and garden that are capable of being containerized (please use green container for all vegetation that will fit inside the container).
  • Tree branches less than 2 in diameter, branches and palm fronds less than 4 in length, and stumps less than 15 in diameter and/or less than 50 pounds.

[Worth Another Look, Part 1] Sober Home Crisis: Representative Frankel urges action on U.S. House floor

Congresswoman Lois Frankel took to the House floor on May 12th and urged her colleagues in Congress and the President Obama Administration to join her in addressing the sober home crisis in South Florida and other communities across the country: 

“I urge this Congress and the President to work with folks in my area and around the country to find the proper balance between protecting the rights of addicts and getting them recovered, and keeping the integrity and character of our neighborhoods,” Frankel said. For an example of how badly misinformed some are about the sober home crisis use this link or proceed to the next blog post.

[Worth Another Look, Part 2] From the 'Only in Lake Worth' file: "I got to know my sober home neighbors, and I'm glad I did"

On drug addicts and sober homes the downtown resident continues: ". . . some relapse. Others hang themselves. Still others have friends who cause noise and traffic. Some relapsers die with needles in their arms or need an ambulance in the middle of the night, or police intervention to calm disturbing behavior. All are troubled, or they wouldn’t have become addicts in the first place."

This scratch-your-head-in-disbelief headline and text appears in a "Point of View" in The Palm Beach Post print edition on Friday the 13th (5/13), a timely and appropriate day for this mythical piece to appear in the newspaper. Now you can see why this problem of sober homes is going to take so long to solve.

As long as people stay complacent about South Florida, and specifically, cities like Lake Worth, being a dumping ground for families and insurance companies in other parts of the country with drug-addicted kids who they can't deal with, then, well, we deserve sober homes up and down every street in town.

But the problem goes deeper than that. Probably every single person in Lake Worth who is paying attention knows what one of the biggest problems is with sober homes. . . except for a handful it would seem:
"I did not realize that there was no on-site 'house mother' or manager in these homes. . . There must be more oversight." Hello! Where have you been? Spending too much time worried about a County park?

Have you started coming up with ideas for the July 4th Raft Race?

The official 15th Annual 4th of July Raft Race T-Shirt. Artwork courtesy of Roberta Millman-Ide from the South Palm Park Neighborhood Assoc.
Have you started your raft yet? As of today, May 22nd, the big day is only 44 days away. Just a simple reminder. Here's a video from 2014 for your enjoyment:
The sponsors this year are: Amore's, Brick Oven Pizza, Callero's, CJ's Island Grill, C.W.S. Bar and Kitchen, Ellis and Gritter, Kavasutra, The Mad Hatter, Paws on the Avenue, Potty Doctor and Suri's Tapas Bar.

The astonishing power of nature to eliminate blight. . .*

[The most viewed blog post of the week!]
Ladies and gentleman, the wolf is not at the door and really never was. You now have permission to take these signs down. Time heals all wounds, real or imagined. Please follow this poignant example from natural world. Thank you.

*To learn more about this look in the right-hand column of this blog for, "Is Lake Worth selling its BEACH! Of course not. That's just silly."

From Wonkblog: "The states people really want to move to — and those they don’t"

Wonkblog is affiliated with The Washington Post and it's a site you should check out every now and then for a big picture view on what's happening in the country. This article is a very short one but sums up the situation here in south Florida quite well: Florida is once again the place to be for many Americans seeking another place to live. Note when you read the excerpt below, these numbers do not include those immigrating to this country, only those Americans moving from other states.

What's lagging is the amount of housing available and, predictably, those costs are going up. Here is an excerpt from the article in Wonkblog that should give policy-makers and political leaders a good reason to be very concerned:

     When the U.S. economy slowed during the recession, so did one of the major demographic shifts of the last several decades. For a brief respite, the Northeast and Midwest stopped shedding quite so many residents to the burgeoning Sun Belt. That trend, though — which has big consequences for politics, among other things — has been picking back up. 
     New census data shows the trend accelerating back to its pre-recession pace. Florida, which actually lost more domestic movers than it gained right after the housing bubble burst, picked up about 200,000 net new movers between 2014 and 2015 [emphasis added] (this number includes people who move between states, not immigration into the United States from abroad). Illinois, meanwhile, had a net loss of about 105,000 residents, its largest one-year population leak in the 21st century.

Locally, here in Lake Worth, we're seeing an uptick in new residents, new apartments and condos being built, along with the inevitable hand-wringing about things like "growth" and "over-development". The Great Recession was just down tick on the overall upward trend of the U.S. population moving from places like the Northeast to places such as south Florida and there's no sign this trend is going to change any time soon.