Saturday, July 23, 2016

Email [excerpts] from JB Berkow, Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, to Lake Worth's elected and City officials:*

Dear Madame Mayor, Esteemed City Commissioners and City Officials,

A lot of you have been intimately involved in the goings on at the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts. However, some of you we have not seen yet. [emphasis added] We hope that next season you will all make some time to discover all the wonderful things that we are accomplishing at the old train depot!

Please take the time to check out some of our newly posted videos: "Marlene Rose Visits the Benzaiten Center," "Kid's Programing," and "Benzaiten Buildout".

[and. . .]

Thanks to a Grant that we received from the Cultural Council, our children's programming has already served 280 children. We have also received two Florida State Cultural Facilities Grants, totaling $270,000, which we will use to do some more major improvements to the building such as replace the roof, fix the rest of the bay doors, remove the asbestos, and complete the front entryway, etc. We have already put $1.25M into making the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts a success, and we are looking forward towards doing so much more to help make Lake Worth become known, far and wide, as the City Where Art is Made! We are already attracting artists from as far north as Ft. Pierce and as far south as Miami, so this is not an outlandish statement.

We want you to be proud and pleased with the faith that you've placed in us and be more fully aware of all the many things that we are trying to accomplish.

JB Berkow, Founder
Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts

*The Benzaiten is an excellent venue for panel discussions and meetings. The Palm Beach County Planning Congress held a panel discussion there on redevelopment and the arts last year. Lake Worth's Dir. of Community Sustainability, William Waters, gave a presentation and another one was by Sherryl Muriente, an Instructor at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University. A video of her presentation follows:

Hey you Pokémon Go users: Cemeteries are off limits. And a shout-out to reporter Michael Buczyner

Folks, if you have to be told that places like cemeteries are inappropriate places to play your silly games then something is wrong with you.

And CBS12/WPEC reporter Michael Buczyner does what's impossible for everyone at ABC25/WPBF: He accurately reports that the South Florida National Cemetery is not located in Lake Worth. There are veterans interred at our cemetery in Lake Worth; but that's the Pinecrest Cemetery.

Here is an excerpt from the text of Buczyner's TV news segment:

     It’s the final resting place for our nation’s heroes, but CBS12 just learned The South Florida National Cemetery in Suburban Lake Worth [emphasis added] is now a playground for gamers.
     It’s not easy for Lynda Sadoff to visit her brother Robert.
     The stones at the cemetery align for as far as the eye can see. It’s a national shrine to honor the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. Lynda’s husband Barry served in the US Navy Reserves. “This is sacred grounds. This is for the military people who served,” he said.
     The final resting place for our nation’s hero’s is now a virtual battle ground for gamers, angering veterans and families. “Coming here to play a game is totally wrong,” Barry said.

If you happen to see any of those 'gamers' at Pinecrest Cemetery call PBSO immediately:

Drinking Water Warning in Lake Worth: Press release

FROM: Brian Shields, City of Lake Worth Water Utility Director
Subject: Drinking Water Warning
Date: July 22, 2016

City of Lake Worth Raw Water Well (#01) sample tests positive for E. coli

     One of our 13 raw water wells (#01) was sampled on July 21, 2016 and had a water sample test positive for fecal coliform (E. coli) bacteria on July 22, 2016. Raw water well (#01) was taken out of rotation on July 22, 2016 and is not being utilized. Public notification of the positive raw water well sample test is required by the Health Department. These bacteria can make you sick, and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems.
     Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.

[and. . .]

     Please share this information with all the other people whom drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).

Until noon today: Compass Community Yard Sale to benefit SMART Ride

Compass is located across Dixie Hwy. from our Downtown Publix. Look for this colorful utility box.
"Join us today, Saturday morning, from 8am–Noon for our Compass Community Yard Sale to benefit SMART Ride registered riders and assist their fundraising goals. Come shop around in some of the best closets in Palm Beach County. Also, there is a section of the famous vintage-inspired red lockers Compass is willing to part with that would look great organizing your clothes, books or storage items in your home!"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More information on last Monday's Parrot Cove Neighborhood meeting on sober homes

To learn more about Parrot Cove use this link.
The level of interest in this subject is tremendously high. For example, this is the notice I posted on the blog that very morning. Within a short time the blog traffic was off the charts and continued for the balance of the day.

I was unable to attend the meeting but received updates from citizen/reporters that the attendance was high and everyone was pleased with the information given out and the political backing to get solutions to the problem many neighborhoods face.
A view of the crowd. Speaking are State Sen. Clemens and Commissioner Shanon Materio.
Below are notes taken by Deb Null, the Secretary of Parrot Cove, unapproved minutes of the meeting. When these minutes become official will provide a link. Here are very important takeaways:

The sober home tip line by State Attorney Dave Aronberg is 844-324-5463. Neighbors should call tip line for advice and to report issues.

What can we do? If a sober home is a nuisance call PBSO. If anything is suspicious make the call. They have to follow the code and the law. Find out who the owner is and be a nuisance to that owner.
A grassroots effort is needed to inform parents that are sending their children here. Money and greed is the problem. Good operators want to be in the company of other good operators. Parents need to look for sober homes with good credentials.

Representative Bill Hager was unable to attend but will be rescheduled to speak at a later date. State Attorney David Aronberg, Senator Jeff Clemens, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Commissioner Shanon Materio and Commissioner Andy Amoroso have all been working on this issue. State Attorney Aronberg has put together a task to work on legislation to monitor sober homes.

Sober homes cannot provide medical treatment. Insurance companies are not allowed to share information on a person in treatment. Congresswoman Frankel is working with the Dept. of Justice to change the rules. Sober homes and addicts come under the ADA. At this point hands are tied. The Dept. of Health cannot monitor sober homes.

Vans driving around are often these residents being driven to testing sites and treatment. If they test positive they can be thrown out of the sober home. The problem is they are often put out with little resources and families are not notified. Many are run just for profit. The "bad homes" will not try to get certified.

Attorneys representing sober homes and insurance companies are on the task force. The next meetings are August 8th and 9th at 2:00 pm at the West Palm Beach police station. Meetings are open to the public but you may not speak.

Property values made it very appealing to the sober home buyers as well as the number of treatments centers in the area. One of the appeals is the weather. WPB has 47 registered sober homes. Three or more unrelated people living in a home has to have a rental license. The problem is they don't tell the truth and if code is called consent is needed to enter.

Stay tuned for more information on what's being done to solve this problem.
It's vitally important to attend public meetings and also to get the word out on what is being done to solve the sober home problem. Please share this information with those in your community. Thank you Deb Null for the notes and to our good friends at Parrot Cove for all your hard work.

UPDATE: Mrs. McGiveron failed her challenge in spectacular fashion. And so did commissioners Maier and McVoy too.

Remember folks, clever motto's won't do anything to fix that pothole on your street. 

In the days since July 7th when Mrs. McGiveron accepted the challenge from Vice Mayor Maxwell and was supposed to be crafting her own ballot language, she instead spent her time crafting a silly motto for the Post's Lake Worth beat reporter:
" 'Where the Tropics Begin' was the old Lake Worth motto," she said. "Sit down, shut up and open your wallets is our new motto."
Pretty clever, huh? How long did it take her to come up with that one? Five minutes?

Continue reading the blog post below first published on July 8th and ask yourself these questions:

Why didn't Mrs. Giveron and commissioners Maier and McVoy take the time since July 7th to craft their own ballot language? Would it be because that would mean having to take a leadership role?

Mrs. McGiveron accepted the challenge (see below) from Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell. A citizen/reporter, Peggy Fisher, got it all on video. McGiveron, as of July 8th had 12 days to complete her assignment

For how this challenge came to be use this link to learn what occurred at the City's Workshop on July 7th. This meeting was held to decide how to proceed to fix the roads/potholes, which the public has demanded be done.

Following the meeting, in the hallway outside the Commission chambers, citizen/reporter Peggy Fisher took video of Vice Mayor Maxwell and Mrs. Katie McGiveron, who is Chair of the CAUT PAC. At the 6:35 mark Maxwell said to McGiveron:
"I challenge you. You give me a ballot initiative and I will present it to the commission. That was your offer, Katie. Give it to me. I would love to see it."
McGiveron then accepted the challenge. She along with commissioners Maier and McVoy are opposed to the City Commission majority (which includes Mayor Pam Triolo and Commissioner Andy Amoroso) moving forward with a ballot initiative so then it was up to McGiveron, Maier, and McVoy to craft one themselves. Here is what we learned at the Workshop:
  • Since the "LW2020" bond failed in 2014 it will now cost $9 million more to fix the City's roads
  • At a minimum the City will need $40–50 million
  • More delays will drive up future costs
I even helped by providing this information:
    • Ballot title not to exceed 15 words
    • Ballot language not to exceed 75 words
    • Following the ballot language is the choice "Yes" or "No", with "Yes" clearly in approval and "No" clearly opposed
    Then I wrote, "Good luck."

    Here is the video taken by citizen/reporter Peggy Fisher; proceed to the 6:10 mark to hear the challenge for yourself:

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Tequesta resident responds to Frank Cerabino, the 'satirist' for Palm Beach Post, on letters about "hand-wringing" and "fear-mongering"

    First, if you didn't know, the Lake Worth City Commission recently voted unanimously to support All Aboard Florida, Brightline's high-speed passenger rail and more freight trains too:
    On the issues that really matter our City Commission can indeed work together. Commissioner Chris McVoy (far right) too.
    And briefly, have you ever wanted to write a "Letter to the Editor" or wrote one and it wasn't published? Learn the trick using this link to greatly increase your chances of getting your letter in print. Now without any further ado, the "Point of View" by Mr. Dennis Myers titled, "Yes, Frank [Cerabino], it is all about freight!" that was in the print edition of the Post yesterday, July 19th:

         Recent weeks have seen letters to The Palm Beach Post voicing renewed outrage over the potential damage expanding the local railway system will bring to the quality of our lives. Sentiments range from exaggerated speculation countered by point-of-fact responses to earnest opposition laced with not too subtle fear-mongering. [emphasis added] For me, however, all the hand-wringing comments miss several key points in the argument.
         I think the potential for local economic impact of railway system expansion means two things: 1) Despite the assurances of local politicians’ shared concerns from north Palm Beach County through the Treasure Coast, there will be no common political will for intervention, only continued support from every branch of our state government; and 2) Yes, Frank Cerabino, despite the frequent official denials, since All Aboard Florida (AAF) is the vehicle for our local railway expansion, it surely is “All About Freight.”

    [and. . .]

         First option is to mitigate and adapt. Mitigate by ensuring that our local officials plan and support the installation and maintenance of “quiet zones” at all the rail crossings where the onerous sounds of train horns 24/7 can be silenced to the benefit of all. Adapt our fire-rescue resources through the use of substations on either side of the rail corridor to ensure continued rapid emergency response capabilities.
         Second option is to move and adjust. Relocate to the west where we can trade the train horns and traffic waits at crossings for the car horns and traffic congestion at stoplights that plague the quality of life there.

    Excellent points, Mr. Myers. A very well-written and thoughtful letter with perfect use of satire to hammer the point home. Thank you for taking the time and effort.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    On the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Assoc. meeting last night addressing sober homes

    Learn more about the Parrot Cove Neighborhood Assoc. using this link.
    Stay tuned for more on this. Received reports from several citizen/reporters and will have more on this later today or tomorrow. State Sen. Jeff Clemens showed up highlighting the importance of this subject for so many people in Lake Worth. Reports are the meeting was very well attended and there were no disruptions by anyone from ROLO (aka, the "Hermit Kingdom").

    An idea for those who don't think they can control themselves at tonight's City Commission meeting

    Try a drum circle! 

    Post reporter Christina Diabo who helped Lake Worth beat reporter Kevin Thompson with his recent article on the upcoming bond vote has this item that also appears in today's print edition:

         Dancing to the beat of the drums under a moon-lit sky might sound like an exotic getaway, but that scene is actually right in Palm Beach County backyards.
         Lake Worth will be holding it’s popular monthly drum circle Tuesday from 8 p.m. to midnight on the grass just north of Benny’s on the Beach. [link added]

    More from the article, If you go:

    Where: Lake Worth Casino Building and Beach Complex, 10 South Ocean Boulevard, Lake Worth (on the grass just north of the pier)
    When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. to midnight
    Parking: $2 per hour

    Monday, July 18, 2016

    Whatever you do DON'T GET ANGRY! That's exactly what she wants you to do (and also. . . how to behave at public meetings)

    [Ahead of today's (Tuesday, 7/19) City Commission meeting please see below for rules and instructions on how to properly behave and act with civility at City Commission meetings.]
    "The greater the controversy, the more you need manners." Quote by Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners.
    So. How do you respond to someone who writes nasty things about volunteers serving the City? People who give their time and effort to help the City of Lake Worth. Do the opposite!

    Act like Mr. Greg Rice did, Chair of the Planning/Zoning Board, when he was insulted and disparaged leading up to the elections last March. He simply laid out the facts and asked for an apology from the candidate challenging Commissioner Andy Amoroso.

    Here is what you do: Just smile. Be polite. Then ask this one very simple 4-word question:
    ". . . have you volunteered yet?"
    Now. . . for how to behave at City Commission meetings the simple rule to follow is: Don't act like Mrs. McGiveron. At the back of the Commission chambers upon your arrival are blue comment cards with instructions on the back. Some rules:
    • No inappropriate outbursts or interruptions will be permitted from the public
    • A warning may or may not be given
    • The result from outbursts or interruptions will be removal by a Sheriff deputy
    Please remember how you behave during breaks at Commission meetings is also important. For example is the video below. If you're short on time fast-forward to the 5:20 mark to see how Mrs. McGiveron treats Commissioner Andy Amoroso. Don't do stuff like that. It's disrespectful and not the least bit charming:

    Where does the media get their news about Lake Okeechobee and water releases?

    You can bypass the media spin, clever camera angles and filters, and go directly to the source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Each weekday there is a press release and here is the link to last Friday's (7/15). For example, below is a short excerpt from the Press Release on July 6th:

    CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

    In an effort to keep Floridians informed of the state’s efforts to protect the environment, wildlife and economies of the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is issuing a Lake Okeechobee status update each weekday. These updates will help residents stay informed of the latest rainfall and lake level conditions, as well as the latest actions by the State of Florida and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
      Lake Conditions (Update as of midnight 7/5/16):
    Current Lake Level 14.94 feet 
    Historical Lake Level Average 13.50 feet
    Total Inflow 5,430 cfs
    Total Outflow (by structures operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) 4,360 cfs
    Evapotranspiration/Rainfall over the Lake -2,920 cfs
    Net -2,120 cfs
    Lake level variation from a week ago 0.04 feet

    Pharmaceutical News: Despondex is the first drug designed to treat the symptoms of excessive perkiness*

    *I posted this video in December of last year and couldn't believe someone thought this was real. No, it's not. It's a parody.

    Very important meeting on Sober Home Regulations hosted by Lake Worth's Parrot Cove neighborhood*

    If you thought this news was also in today's (7/18) So Very Special Monday edition of the Post. . . you would be wrong. Will try to attend this evening but if I cannot will have a citizen/reporter take notes and send them to me. Stay tuned:
    Parrot Cove meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend.
    The Parrot Cove Neighborhood Assoc. meeting will be today (Monday, July 18th), at 7:00 at the usual location: The Beach Club at the Lake Worth Golf Course.

    The topic of the meeting will be Sober Home Regulations and what has been taking place in government to address and balance the needs of those in recovery and neighborhoods in which many operators have been placing an ever-growing number of these facilitities.

    West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio, also a Lake Worth business owner, has been appointed to a task force charged with working on solutions to this complex matter. She will be giving us an update on legislative efforts taking place, how the new voluntary regulation system is working, and more.

    Many concerns have been voiced from members of our community regarding the impacts of so-called sober homes (or transitional living facilities) and these matters will be discussed.

    *Note: State Representative Bill Hager was also to be part of the meeting, however, due to scheduling conflict he will be rescheduled to a later date.

    Sunday, July 17, 2016

    A question for everyone interested in Lake Okeechobee, blue-green algae, and "Send The Water South!"

    Let's say a community along a waterway in Palm Beach County, it can be a small or large one, decided that the cost of County sewage line maintenance and human waste disposal to a treatment facility was too expensive and will switch to septic tanks instead. There would be outrage from the environmental community, right?

    Question: So why isn't the environmental community outraged that so many communities in Martin County are polluting their waterways with feces and urine now?

    Shouldn't the cry be to have all that human waste disposed of like most of Palm Beach County does with modern waste disposal technology? Below is J. P. Sasser's thoughts on this subject. He is the former mayor of Pahokee. From his public comment given at the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council on May 20th of this year:
    ". . . we are not the ones flushing septic tanks into our own waters."

    "324 salmonella infections linked to pet chicks, ducklings since January"

    Image above from 2009 by the inimitable Tom McGow. For more on this issue look in the right-hand column for "Raising chickens, aka 'Urban Chickens' IS NOT allowed in Lake Worth" or use this link.
    CNN had this news from last month. Here is an excerpt:

         "Health investigators have interviewed 238 of those who became sick and found most of them had contact with live fowl at home, school and work in the week before their symptoms began. Some of them also said they bought live baby poultry from several suppliers in multiple states. Those include feed supply stores, co-ops, hatcheries and friends, according to the outbreak summary issued Thursday.
         'Results from these investigations showed that contact with live poultry in backyard flocks was the likely source of these outbreaks,' the agency said.
         Symptoms of salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, fever and sudden onset diarrhea that can last for several days. Nausea, vomiting and headaches may also occur."

    Lake Worth news from our neighbor to the south: Lantana

    News like this from Alexandra Seltzer is a "shot-in-the-arm" for Lantana and the cities nearby too. This proposed community of residents "geared toward young families" aren't going to shelter in place. They're going to explore Lake Worth and spend money here too. Below are two excerpts from the article:

    LANTANA — Fifteen three-story apartment buildings will be developed as the first phase of the residential section of the Water Tower Commons project. They’ll be behind the row of 11 retail spots including a fitness center and grocery store, according to plans submitted to the town.

    [and. . .]

         The apartments are only a small piece of the overall residential area, which can have up to 1,091 units. [emphasis added] The apartment section will be geared toward young families. It includes a pool, a clubhouse and a green space on the left of the property in the middle of a circle of five buildings. A park near the center of the apartments will also have a connecting road to the commercial area. There will be a park around the 127-foot tall water tower and an entryway there, also.

    The Post article on the bond referendum is available online

    The Palm Beach Post finally has an article on the upcoming bond referendum online and will be published in tomorrow's print edition on Lake Worth's So Very Special Monday. Lake Worth is featured each and every Monday and it's anyone's guess as to why:
    Note the Very Special Cities. There are also a few other cities in the County worthy of attention too. Like Greenacres, Lantana, The Acreage, The Great Walled City of Atlantis, Palm Springs, Belle Glade, Riviera Beach, Highland Beach. . .
    For regular readers of this blog there's nothing new in the Post article but this excerpt sums up the nonsense by Mrs. McGiveron and her CAUT PAC quite nicely:

         [City Manager Michael] Bornstein told The Post that McGiveron is misguided.
         “She has genuine concerns, but she’s not an elected official,” he said. “She has stated she wants to be involved on the level my mayor and commissioners are involved, but if she wants to be engaged at that level, she needs to run for office.”
         Attempts to reach McGiveron were unsuccessful. [emphasis added]

    Big surprise, huh? Anyhow, the reporter Kevin Thompson, along with being a contributor to Lake Worth's So Very Special Monday edition is also the reporter for Greenacres, suburban Lake Worth, and the Lake Worth Corridor.

    If you have news or an event you would like to promote, here is the reporter's contact information:
    • Email:
    • 561-820-4573
    • Twitter: @kevindthompson1