Saturday, September 23, 2017

Could a trolley or new bus service return to our little City of Lake Worth?

Do you remember “Lolly the Trolley”? Learn more about this former trolley service below.

Recently at the City Commission there have been references made to a new and very much needed bus or trolley service. A certain commissioner had a meeting with a certain County commissioner to talk about this last July.

Does the history of Lake Worth interest you? If you are on Facebook I highly recommend joining a group called “Palm Beaches Remembered.”
Passes once used for Lake Worth’s former
“Lolly the Trolley”.

The City of Lake Worth operated its own local transit operation in the form of “Lolly the Trolley”.

Actually, think it consisted of two trolleys that ran from the Beach, through the Downtown, past Lake Worth Towers, the High School, to the Tri-Rail station and the former Publix on Lake Worth Road. I believe the trolley also went north on Dixie Hwy. into West Palm Beach to the Winn-Dixie at Palm Coast Plaza.

It cost about $1 to ride and was subsidized and operated by the City. I don’t think it received any money from PalmTran. It’s hard to pin down the details; it’s been a while since it ceased operation. The dates on the passes above are from 1996 and 1997.

Operations stopped sometime in the early-2000s. The excuse given was the cost was too-heavily subsidized by the City. Fare revenue made up only a very small portion of the cost to operate the trolleys. They were also said to be difficult to maintain as each was made by a different manufacturer and didn’t share parts. The trolleys were in the shop and out of service many times which did not help the image of reliability.

Regardless, they were a mainstay of Lake Worth for many years and provided a needed service.

Transit between our Beach and points further west including unincorporated County (for example, Palm Beach State College), has been identified as a recurring need: linking these destinations not adequately served by mass transit. Recall hearing late last year, I believe, the City had grant money available to operate such a system but didn’t have the money to buy the equipment.

Now though the situation is much different. There’s much more interest now in public transportation to the Beach, through the Downtown, and to Tri-Rail and the college as well. There’s little doubt the service will be used, not just during Season, but the entire year.

If you recall, the talk of running a trolley service again began last year when people were excited about the Gulfstream Hotel re-opening and a new hotel expansion on the block’s western half. Demand for such a service made perfect sense. But regardless what the owners of the Gulfstream Hotel are doing, or rather not doing, is of no consequence. They had their big opportunity back in January 2016 and then squandered it.

No doubt others have their eye on this historic landmark and the opportunities in such a tight market for hotel rooms in Central Palm Beach County.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Annual L-DUB* Film Festival starts today and runs through Sunday at the Lake Worth Playhouse.

Exciting news from Palm Beach County’s only true Hipster Haven, the little City of Lake Worth!

The L-DUB Film Festival is all weekend.
For more information use this link.

*A short discussion about the oft-used and somewhat confusing term (or slang if you will), “L-DUB”. Other variations of the term “L-DUB” referring to the actual City of Lake Worth (not to be confused with those cookie-cutter boring western suburbs) are:
  • “L-Dub” can be used upper/lowercase; ALL CAPS is also acceptable (“L-DUB” is sometimes called the ‘Dee’ or ‘Twiddle-Dee’ variant).
  • There is the Hipster feminine, “ElleDub” [informal; Hipster male, “ElDub”].
  • “LDub”, sans the hyphen, a British (199-) variant [informal, familiar].
  • The French/European Union variant [formal, proper], “LéDûb”; used in a sentence, “C′est si bon, Mademoiselle, Monsieur en charmant LéDûb.”

Defined, use in speech, and an everyday example:

  • The L is short for “Lake”.
  • DUB is short for double-“u” as in the letter “w”.
  • Hence the term L-DUB, slang for “Lake Worth”; once again, the actual City of Lake Worth.

An example in speech:

“Welcome to LDub! Have you been to World Thrift yet? It is soooooo cool and prices you won’t believe. And get this, there’s a new Tacos Al Carbon L-DUB location opening up across the street. You made the right choice moving to LéDûb. Nobody cares about Delray any more. ElleDub is where it’s at.”

Brightline closes FEC grade crossing in the City of Lake Worth.

Press release:

Crews working for All Aboard Florida* will temporarily close the following grade crossing to perform additional construction improvements:

10th Ave. South and Florida East Coast (FEC) railway from today [Friday, Sept. 22nd] until Monday, Sept. 25th at 6:00 p.m.

For more information on future road closures, a map of traffic detours in the area, and contact information for Brightline use this link.

*All Aboard Florida is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service commercial real estate, transportation, and infrastructure companies, and the corporate parent company of Brightline and MiamiCentral.


“Because of a reporting error, a story in Thursday’s Palm Beach Post about where Comcast customers can call to receive a rebate for missed service after Hurricane Irma was incorrect. Home customers should call 1-800-COMCAST. Business customers should call 1-800-391-3000. The error occurred on Page 8 of the main section.”

Clarifying a press report: Just in case you may have missed this post-Hurricane Irma.

Blog post titled, “Lake Worth’s electricity comes primarily from natural gas, nuclear, and coal.”

If you happened to be confused or “scratching your head” after reading an article in The Palm Beach Post last Saturday, well, join the club. Here’s an excerpt from the Post’s beat reporter:
Why Lake Worth’s power issues are unique: Lake Worth is Palm Beach County’s only city with its own power plant.
True. The City of Lake Worth has a power plant. A very aged one and only capable of powering sections of the City — like areas in our Downtown — with generators using different grades of oil, e.g., diesel fuel. And by the way, if you happen to be a radical environmentalist or a member of the Sierra Club and think solar energy is the future of our Lake Worth Electric Utility (LWEU), members of Deep Green Resistance (DGR) have some thoughts on solar energy:

“[W]e’re going to introduce you to some ideas that you’re probably familiar with already as environmentalists. But we might also be talking about some things that are surprising or even shocking to some of you.”

Now back to our LWEU:

The City of Lake Worth has a “tie in line” with FP&L and most of our electric energy is delivered via that line. Note the words “that line”. There is only one tie in line with FP&L and that needs to be addressed at some point; adding a second line is very expensive, into the millions of dollars. But more on that at some point in the future.

In January 2016 City Manager
Michael Bornstein wrote,

“We currently receive most of our energy from natural gas (Orlando Utility Commission contract for power at 33 megawatts), nuclear (FP&L St. Lucie Plant 20.3 megawatts) and coal (Orlando Stanton 1 at 10 megawatts).”

Simply put, if you are a customer of LWEU you are getting your energy from natural gas, nuclear, coal, and a very small amount from solar. Very little of your electric energy needs are actually generated by the City of Lake Worth.

Here’s another excerpt from the city manager:

     “Not too many years ago our Utility was plagued with an inordinate amount of outages, complaints about the rates, and calls to sell it to FP&L. In the past few years, those trends have been reversed and our services have been improved. We are committed to making Lake Worth Electric a source of pride and a leader in municipal power service.
     Part of this effort involves finding cleaner and more diversified sources of energy. Having several sources of energy will make us better prepared to withstand changes in the energy market such as when one type of fuel becomes more expensive due to environmental impacts and stiffer regulations.
     Energy costs related to Solar Panels have been dropping as technology continues to improve their efficiency.”

and. . .

     “Lake Worth is not a wealthy city and has had serious financial issues over the past several years, therefore, we have had to look at creative ways to fund necessary improvements.”

This City of Lake Worth newsletter,
“Worth Noting” ends with,

In Public Service,
Michael Bornstein, City Manager

Lastly, for new or recently new
customers of LWEU:

Hurricanes and the City of Lake Worth: Why
having our own Electric Utility is significant
and very important.

Following Hurricane Matthew last year I penned this blog post; here is a short excerpt:

“This isn’t a look back for long-time residents of this City. For those who were here at the time [2004–2005], no words are necessary.
     But for new residents of this City, what you’ll read about is what happens when infrastructure, like our Electric Utility, was allowed to fall apart years ago and the consequences of those terrible decisions that ‘came to roost’ starting in 2004.
     Were you here last year for Hurricane Matthew? You’ll learn why I prepared to go without electric for weeks because of that storm. Why? The short answer is because of past hurricanes that actually happened to me and many others as well.”

Hurricane Irma’s impact on our City of Lake Worth was substantial and not to be downplayed. But compared to hurricanes Francis and Jeanne in 2004 (exactly 2 weeks apart) and then Wilma in 2005, going just 5 days without power is something to be very proud of. Our LWEU has come a long way.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

“PBC Schools Offering Free Lunch”, news in this week’s Lake Worth Herald.

By the way, you won’t find any cheap shots in the Herald, like what was published in the Post this week post-Hurricane Irma about our City of Lake Worth.

Use this link to see this week’s front page headlines in the Herald. Pick up the print edition every Friday at the City’s Downtown newsstand located at
600 Lake Ave. It’s still just ¢50!

Here’s an item in the paper this week, on page 3:

The School District of Palm Beach County has received a waiver to offer free meals to all students through Friday, Oct. 20, due to the impact of Hurricane Irma on the District and the state of Florida.
     Breakfast is always free in Palm Beach County, and for the next month, the District will be providing lunch meals at no cost as well. These meals are still claimed under the National School Lunch Program and complete meals must be selected in order to be provided at no cost.
     Snack items will be available at normal prices.

Lake Worth news from Mr. Ben Kerr, the City’s Public Information Officer (PIO).

Latest update from the City.

Use this link for the City’s “Special Update #40”. By the way, Mr. Kerr was praised as “The Man of the Hour” at the City Commission meeting last Tuesday for all of his outstanding work prior to, during, and post-Hurricane Irma.

To learn more about the function of a PIO use this link to Wikipedia.

Absentee ballots and, “Why single out one group?”. What happened to the blaring headlines in the Post?

How this story even made into print last July is unimaginable.

“It’s distasteful,” Powell told the audience of roughly 80 people. “It should be criminal that newspapers can print something like that and implicate.”

“Powell” is Democrat Senator Bobby Powell.

Last March something very special happened here in the City of Lake Worth. Mr. Omari Hardy, a Black man, was elected the commissioner in District 2. What made me so proud is Hardy’s race never became an issue. I can remember a time in this City that would be the only thing a lot of people talked about.

I would encourage the editor at The Palm Beach Post to publish a story about that, when a man’s race is a non-issue.

One thought that immediately crossed my mind when I read the article in the Post is how, on one hand, the editor will decry the low voter turnout in the Black community and then publish something that will frighten even more of our friends in the Black community from getting involved. It’s a disgrace.

If the editor is suggesting Senator Powell needs to cheat to win an election, he doesn’t know Powell very well.

From the archives: Mr. Herman Robinson (left), Yours Truly, and then-Mr. Bobby Powell. 

Are you still angry about this? What do you do? Write a Letter to the Editor, call the Post and cancel your subscription, or you can scroll up and click on the link above, “Senator Bobby Powell” to email him and contact his staff. Tell them you support the senator and ask what you can do to help.

UPDATE: More information about what happened at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting last Tuesday.

Below are some photos taken from my seat in the Commission chambers. Check back tomorrow for more details from last night’s Commission meeting, including City Manager Michael Bornstein’s updates on work ongoing post-Hurricane Irma and about more of the items on the agenda.

See below (following the photographs) for details on the tentative City of Lake Worth millage rate and FY2017–2018 budget, my “Notes, News, and Observations”.

It was a pleasure being in attendance at our City Commission meeting. I didn’t show up with my video camera because it may be a few more days before the bandwidth is available to upload the videos to YouTube anyhow.

What was a bit surprising, however, is how many people thanked me last night for posting information on this blog all last week and through last weekend about Hurricane Irma. I reminded people that wasn’t my information in many instances. Mostly it was “copy and paste” of information from the City of Lake Worth — it’s the City that deserves the credit — not this blog.

Interestingly, The Palm Beach Post and other news outlets were doing the same thing, just copying information the City of Lake Worth put out, reworded it, and for some it suddenly became, “Real News Starts Here”. But it really didn’t start there. It was due to the hard work of our City administration and highly competent staff who were all battling Irma.

Without further ado. . .

A view of the International Talk Like A
Pirate Day (ITLAPD) proclamation. Spectacular!
It was a great mood at the City Commission last night, despite some differences of opinion.
That’s a hopeful sign.

A view of the crowd from my seat.
It was a packed house.

Our City Commission getting down to business.

UPDATE: “Notes, News, and Observations”.

What took a lot of people by surprise were the split votes (3-2) on the tentative millage rate and FY2017–2018 budget. There will be another vote next week, the “Second Reading”. Let’s hope for a little more unity next time. The discussion about lowering the millage rate, in my opinion, was just a waste of time. Mayor Pam Triolo was absent at the previous City work session but Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell wanted the mayor to have her chance to speak on the issue.

And Mayor Triolo did just that last night, taking a strong position on one side and then taking another strong position on the other side. I was reminded of President Truman’s quote about a “one-handed economist”. Basically all this was for naught, commissioners Andy Amoroso, Herman Robinson, and Omari Hardy were against lowering the millage rate by 0.25% before and nothing was going to change their minds. So it was a split vote, 3-2, with Amoroso making the motion.

Vice Mayor Maxwell’s idea and reasoning for lowering the millage rate is a solid one. Everyone agrees that is the case, including commissioners Amoroso, Robinson, and Hardy. But the timing isn’t right. Maybe next year. Maxwell’s correct in stating “property values are increasing”, the City is nearing 10-mil cap, and lowering the millage rate will send a strong message and encourage more investment.

But. . . according to Amoroso there are going to be hidden costs from Hurricane Irma and Hardy warned everyone once again about next year’s statewide vote on the Homestead Exemption, which is likely to pass and will significantly affect the City’s budget. Robinson summed it up quite nicely, “We can have the conversation later.”

Then there’s the proverbial Elephant in the Room.

Despite Finance Dir. Marie Elianor stating there will be no reduction in service levels in this year’s budget we also learned from City Attorney Glen Torcivia that the FEMA issues from past years are still out there. This is very significant.

There is still approximately $4M in question in years past from previous hurricanes and there is ≈$9M for “risk management” the City has available. Hardy pointed out until we know what is going to happen, and what FEMA is going to do, lowering the millage rate now is not the right time. Torcivia also alluded to the fact FEMA could withhold sending the City any assistance for Hurricane Irma to make up for past, well, let’s call them ‘accounting’ or ‘rounding’ errors by past administrations.

So. Items 5A and B, “Public Hearings” on the millage rate and City budget was a split 3-2 vote, Triolo and Maxwell the “No’s”, and so was item 5C a split 3-2, “adopt the debt service rate”.

Item 5D, “Second Reading, designate the restricted/committed assigned fund balances for Fiscal Year 2017” was unanimous, 5-0. Item 5E was also a 5-0 vote in favor vis-à-vis the new water system contract with Lake Osborne Estates (LOE). One resident, the same one from LOE, showed up in opposition but everybody is tired of hearing the grumbling. It’s time to move on and enjoy our wonderful and less-expensive City of Lake Worth water!

Anyhow, check back tomorrow for more, “Notes, News, and Observations”.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Join the Guardian Angels, become a Citizen On Patrol (COP), or be an “Advocate” for our City of Lake Worth.

Always remember, “No tip is too small.”
Have a tip? Contact Crime Stoppers, stay anonymous, and claim a reward.

There are so many ways to get involved and help stop crime in your neighborhood.

Besides the COP program (see below) in the City of Lake Worth, there are many other ways to help:

  • Become an Advocate in the “First Appearance” program: Prostitution, disorderly conduct, and petty street crime, “is not victimless” . . . “the community is the victim.”
  • Be a “Guardian Angel” wearing the iconic red beret. Call 561-582-7755, 954-881-7068, or use this link.
  • Contact the Neighborhood Assoc. Presidents’ Council (NAPC) for postcards in English, Spanish and Creole for distribution in the neighborhood. Email:

Citizen On Patrol (COP) program:

COPs do not become involved in a situation or even try to stop a crime in progress — they are more “eyes and ears” on the street and report to law enforcement what they see and hear.

After a crime getting in front of the TV cameras or getting mentioned in the newspaper to complain isn’t helping in any meaningful way.

But it does help sell newspapers and keeps viewers watching TV after 11:00.

The focus needs to be more on prevention and getting tips to PBSO. The fast news cycle and reporters will be on to other things in short order and you’ll be forgotten soon enough. Remember Thomas Altman? His murder was a sensational week-long story in the press until the next headline-grabbing story came along.

Despite all the press interviews with people after that murder and all the attention that crime received it still remains unsolved. But it’s possible someone knew something prior to Altman’s murder and could have tipped off PBSO. But we’ll never know now.

Use this link to a news story on the City’s website about the COP program. Would strongly suggest this as a way to help your neighborhood if you have persistent issues with crime.

And also remember this:
To become a Citizen On Patrol call 561-433-2003.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

News from the City of Lake Worth: Another post-Hurricane Irma update.

Remember, the City of Lake Worth is your OFFICIAL news source for what’s happening following the storm:

“The Beach and Casino complex will resume normal operating hours tomorrow [Sept. 20th, at noon].”

To read the latest update in its entirety use this link which includes another video update (see below):

City Commissioner updates the community
after Hurricane Irma:

“On Saturday [Sept. 16th] we had the opportunity to catch up with City Commissioner Andy Amoroso who met us during the La Revolución event at the HATCH. Like all of our commissioners, Andy has made the effort to be out and about and available to any resident who needs him, especially at his shop in downtown [newsstand at 600 Lake Ave.]. He has worked tirelessly to help in any way he could.”

Just in case you missed this from yesterday. . .

From Facebook. Name withheld:

“The negativity I have been reading on my phone is disgusting.”

Thank you to the person who wrote this and hope you’re not catching too much grief from the haters.

“I do not normally post, but decided to do so due to a lot of complaints I have read about electric [Lake Worth’s Electric Utility].
     First, I do not know the City’s protocol for hurricanes. What I do know is that I have lived in this City since 1981. I am not political in any way, shape or form. I have been through the unnamed storm in the late 80’s . . . no power. I have been through Frances, Jeanne and Wilma in ‘04 and ‘05.* I lived with no power, food loss, no generator for 7, 10 and 13 days with three children, and even fell and broke my ankle during Wilma.
     I saw Matthew at tropical storm . . . no power loss. Four crews from other states came in to help our City. Yes, I was out six days and am hoping the rest come on today, but heck the majority of us have power.
     Now think about your suffering through one or seven days! There are areas such as our entire Keys who have nothing and I mean nothing, so please do not blame our City officials or our utility director because we too could be so much worse.
     How about instead we focus on Florida? Donate your unused hurricane supplies, baby clothes, formula, clothing, towels to those in our Keys. They are struggling unlike us with no power, no food, no water, nothing, but we can and have restaurants, stores, gas stations.
     The negativity I have been reading on my phone is disgusting. I myself am grateful that I only lost my fence, tree branches and power. How about positive help for those in need!”

*To learn more about those terrible storms back in 2004–2005 use this link for an account by Yours Truly.

“World’s Largest Ghost Hunt” at Lake Worth’s historic Gulfstream Hotel?

Below is ‘news’ from staff writer Julio Poletti at the Post from the “list of things to do” last Labor Day weekend here in our vibrant City of Lake Worth:

“World’s Largest Ghost Hunt”

“Join the historic Gulfstream Hotel for thrilling and spooky hunts. Proceeds benefit Stomp the Bullying!”

The public has been waiting quite some time for some “thrilling” news about the Gulfstream Hotel to Begin the Vibrancy!” bringing much-needed hotel rooms to “benefit” our local economy. But the owners of the Gulfstream Hotel have not accomplished much at all since purchasing this historic structure back in 2014.

Well, anyhow, the “World’s Largest Ghost Hunt”, according to the Post reporter, was set to begin at 6:30 and go on til midnight. A local citizen-reporter on the scene at 6:30 reported no one was there at the hotel and ended up no one showed at the Gulfstream for the “Ghost Hunt” anyway (and no ghosts showed up either, according to reports).

Anyway, around 7:30 or so learned the hotel had some new locks on the doors and there were no “ghost hunters” inside.

The Tweet sent out by the Post’s “ThingsToDo”
crew promoting the ‘ghost hunt’:
You’ll be happy to learn there has been some recent progress at the Gulfstream Hotel; use this link
to learn about that. No recent news about
any ghosts though.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricanes and the City of Lake Worth: Why having our own Electric Utility is significant and very important.

Please pardon me if you’ve already read this blog post, first posted after Hurricane Matthew last year and several times since. But I’ve received several requests from my long-time readers to remind new or recently new residents about some hurricanes that may or may not sound familiar to you: Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma.

The shortest length of time I was without power was 10 days, and when power was restored it was flickering with brown-outs for many more days afterwards. Each minute with power seemed like a blessing.

I’m still having a hard time believing my power came back on last Friday after going out the Sunday prior due to Hurricane Irma. I am very grateful and very relieved. For many of you — what you’re about to read is unbelievable — but it’s not. It actually happened to me and many other residents of this City.

This blog post isn’t a look back for long-time residents of this City. For those who were here at the time, no words are necessary. But for new residents of this City, what you’ll read about below is what happens when infrastructure, like our Electric Utility, was allowed to fall apart years ago and the consequences of those terrible decisions that “came to roost” starting in 2004.

Were you here last year for Hurricane Matthew? You’ll learn why I prepared to go without electric for weeks because of that storm. Why? The short answer is because of past hurricanes that actually happened to me and many others as well.

But a lot has changed in this City since those terrible storms back in 2004/2005. And Hurricane Matthew is proof of that. All the hard work done to harden the City’s electric distribution system has paid off and was done using money from where? Money from a bond. That’s right. A bond (you’ll read more about that below).

In order to know where we’re going as a City you need to know where we’ve been. For many of us Hurricane Matthew brought back a lot of terrible memories. Reading about Lake Worth’s Electric Utility during hurricanes Francis, Jeanne, and Wilma may seem like mundane history now but that’s not the case. It’s very important you know these things. Very important.

Many of you know I am not a native Floridian. I came here in 1989 after having lived for 28 years in Michigan. Other than both states sharing the common element of being peninsulas there are few similarities. There is a long list of differences. One concern I had when relocating here was Florida was known as a place where hurricanes can make landfall. A frightening prospect.

Upon arrival here in Fall of 1989 I quickly became acquainted with the parade of storms shared in reports by local news lore. South Florida is prone to threats from storms that form off the coast of Africa, referred to as Cape Verde storms. These storms can evolve into their own, self-sustaining hurricanes and roll across the Atlantic Ocean. Most of these storms, while they may be large and pack high winds, turn north and are referred to as “fish storms”. Marine traffic is warned and alter their course accordingly. No harm done. This time.

It’s a roll of the dice whether storms will be fish storms or make landfall. In 1979 Hurricane David was the last storm to hit the area prior to my move to Florida. Hurricane David was a significant storm and it skirted the east coast of Florida in a similar way that Hurricane Matthew did. However, David did not have nearly the powerful punch of Matthew.

Here are some of the near misses I recall as it relates to Palm Beach County (PBC): Of course, there’s Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. That Category 5 storm had its sights set on PBC but plowed through the southern part of Dade County instead with disastrous results. Following that storm was the re-writing of building codes and wind-impact standards now required for new construction and window/door replacement.

Between 1992 and 2004 we had near misses and threats but really no major impacts from hurricanes in Southeast Florida. That’s not to say other areas didn’t experience landfalls during that time, but PBC was spared.

In Lake Worth we have our own electric utility which makes our experience different than surrounding municipalities and unincorporated (or suburban) PBC that use FPL. Whether through indifference, conflicting priorities, or lack of funds the Lake Worth Electric Utility degraded over time. Once it was something Lake Worth residents could rely on and it was a selling point to live here. The City gained the reputation for reliable, reasonable electric delivery service. It was a source of civic pride. “Was” is the key word.

All those false notions and fanciful memories about our Electric Utility were laid bare after hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 (exactly two weeks apart), and then Wilma in 2005. Things were already falling apart at the utility before these storms. We had what were referred to as “palm frond” or “small dead animal” excuses the City would use for virtually inexplicable outages, some occurring during clear weather, in the middle of the day. A change of administrations and a focus on hardening of our electric distribution system over the past five years is really what made Hurricane Matthew seem only like a nuisance to so many.

My house lost power in all three storms of 2004 and 2005, early in each storm. The shortest length of time until the power came back on was 10 days. That was after Francis. Those that were here remember Francis being a lengthy, slow-moving storm that seemed like it would never go away. When it did we endured hot and humid summer nights with the windows open and hearing newly purchased generators running all night long. Sleep was nearly impossible.

The cycle was repeated only two weeks later with Hurricane Jeanne, which followed almost the same landfall spot as Francis, but was stronger and faster moving. Neighbors and myself then endured another two weeks without power, while other communities and areas around us were being turned back on by FPL. The contrast was vividly apparent.

The next year Wilma made a late October appearance and surprised everyone (especially the forecasters) with its strength as it made its way west to east across the state. Its fast speed contributed to an increase in wind speed. It was Wilma when we experienced the passage of the “eye” only to learn that what came after the eye was worse than the conditions which preceded it. The aftermath of that storm on my property was much more severe than the other storms. My electric meter and connection to the house from the pole was ripped away requiring a trip to an Orlando Home Depot for parts (that was the nearest store that had storm recovery materials and equipment).

The College Park neighborhood lights came on about 2 weeks after Wilma. My property remained dark for about five more days until the work could be completed and inspected by the City.

That’s when I found out how the City, and its utility customers, were taken to the proverbial cleaners by out-of-town contractors assigned to restore power to residences and businesses who suffered damage and required a new meter. At 10:30 p.m. a large white truck showed up at my address and two workers got out. They met me in the yard and I directed them to the meter location. They worked about 20 minutes connecting the wire feed to the house and then the new meter box.

It turns out these particular two were from Ohio and were on an open-ended contract to restore power. For the past three weeks they were working double eight-hour shifts and getting triple-overtime. I asked them how they decided which house or business they went to next. They said they went by a master list and it was based on the order in which properties became ready for meter installation after a successful inspection.

Now that the wiring work was done they had to go back to the main dispatch and get an electric meter. They didn’t have one on their very large truck. Convenient, huh? They were gone about 45 minutes (remember, triple-overtime pay) and then returned to install the electric meter. Success! I finally had power like the rest of my neighbors.

It dawned on me the City wasn’t over-seeing these contractors at all. Imagine the same process for every installation: wiring, going back to HQ, returning with a meter and then off to the next property on the list which could be anywhere in the City. They could have planned an installation in the extreme northeast corner of the City and then travel to the extreme southwest corner of the City and repeat the process. All the time on triple overtime.

Nothing like this happened during Hurricane Matthew. Granted, we were spared the brunt of that Category 4 storm spinning off of our shores, and very few (at most 200) went without power for a short period of time. As I wrote this last year on October 9th, two days after the storm, the Town of Palm Beach reported that 103 properties are still without power on the island. If I’m not mistaken Lake Worth had everybody back on line by then. FPL, at the peak of the storm, had 60,000+ without power in PBC. That number is nearly double the entire population of Lake Worth.

The point is this is more evidence the City of Lake Worth has turned a corner. Through the diligent hardening of the electrical distribution system over the past five years we all have noticed fewer interruptions in service. The contrast between then and now couldn’t be more stark. This is a clear example, when it comes to improving infrastructure, the best way to ensure that it actually happens is through a specific bond issue that funds those improvements.

The hardening of the City’s electric distribution system was done by the Commission through the auspices of the electric and water utility funds. These bond funds did not require the vote of the electorate as this was not a general obligation bond.

Last November was the Neighborhood Road Bond referendum. That was an opportunity, going forward, to improve our road network as we did with our electric and water utilities. The bond last year passed “overwhelmingly”, by 69% of the voters. In order to keep on making Lake Worth a more attractive and safe place to live, the bond was the only answer.

Another real pathway to continued success is the voting booth. Elections in this City are not trivial. They have consequences long after Election Day. That’s why, if you’re a new resident of the New City of Lake Worth, it’s important to get involved and stay involved in whatever way you can.

The City of Lake Worth’s Water Utility update post-Hurricane Irma.

“Water Utility Dir. Brian Shields, P.E., provides key details to the community on how the City’s infrastructure was fully prepared for Hurricane Irma.”

To learn more about Lake Worth Water Utilities use this link. Along with “Useful Links”, “Permitting Agencies”, and contact information there is also a helpful Q&A as well on this City website. For example:

Will Lake Osborne Estates* (LOE) residents be charged the same water service rates as residents who actually reside within the City’s municipal bounds?
“As you are aware, the City already provides bulk water to LOE through a master meter to Lake Osborne Waterworks. LOE would be charged the same rates as all customers served outside the City limits, which includes a 25% surcharge, consistent with City policy. Depending on usage, it is anticipated that LOE residents with average usage will see no noticeable change or slight reduction in their water bill. The City does have tiered, conservation-based rates that discourage excessive usage.”

*LOE is located outside the City of Lake Worth in what’s called suburban Lake Worth (unincorporated PBC); in the map below that would be the area in white west of Lake Worth and east of the Great Walled City of Atlantis.

Note the Zip Codes. The actual City of Lake Worth is 33460 and a small part of 33461.
Stay tuned for news about enclaves, County ‘pockets’, and annexations as more of the public in suburban Lake Worth learn about the benefits of becoming “incorporated” into a municipality.

Take note: Lake Worth City Commission meets tomorrow.

Your City Commission for our
little City of Lake Worth.
Use this link and learn how to contact your elected officials. Instead of complaining, try offering up
a few words of encouragement and ask,
“What can I do to help?”

The “tentative” City Commission hearing on the millage rate and FY2017–2018 budget originally scheduled for September 12th — cancelled due to Hurricane Irma — will be held tomorrow (Sept. 19th) at 6:00 as part of this regular meeting.

To see these items on the agenda use this link, scroll down for “September 19, Regular Meeting” and then click on “Agenda & Backup” to download. Look for:

Item 5. Public Hearings:

A. Resolution No. 43-2017 - First Public Hearing - establish the Fiscal Year 2017–2018 tentative general City millage rate and set the second public hearing for September 26, 2017.
B. Resolution No. 44-2017 - First Public Hearing - adopt the Fiscal Year 2017–2018 proposed City budget and set the second public hearing for September 26, 2017.

And don’t forget Item 6B!

“Proclamation declaring September 19, 2017, as International Talk like a Pirate Day.”

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A message from Scott Maxwell, Lake Worth’s Vice Mayor and District 1 Commissioner.

“Scott Maxwell gives the community valuable information to help reduce the time of power outages as well as expressing a heartfelt appreciation to those who pitched in to continue to make Lake Worth a great community.”

Editors, media executives, reporters, and journalists: Stressed out?

Please take note. The following blog post also addresses the subject of medical marijuana and may be disturbing for some readers. Below, you’ll also learn about the newly-formed coalition called “HEMP” that attempts to confront this issue head-on vis-à-vis the responsible use of medical marijuana, young people in Palm Beach County, and possible protests (and counter-protests) in the very near future.

Without further ado. . .

Hurricane Irma coverage was rough for everyone, e.g., imagine the surprise of employees at The Palm Beach Post when they all learned,
“[P]ublisher Tim Burke told the employees via email . . .”.
However, if you’re in the press and/or news media business, there’s good news to report! A great way to change your mood and perspective: medical marijuana.

Later this month Modern Health Concepts (MHC [not to confused with THC]) is opening a new medical marijuana dispensary right here in the City of Lake Worth, conveniently located at 1125 N. Dixie Hwy.

MHC is on the west side of Dixie between a crematorium and an elementary charter school on the east side of Dixie. Or. . . look for Blue Front BBQ; MHC is right across the street! How cool is that? Contact MHC today:

“Now Offering Free Delivery to Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Lee and Collier Counties. Call 877-303-0741 or place an order online.”


Young members of HEMP (Helping Educate My Parents),* are planning a counter-protest on learning this from the editor at the Post:

“The proposed [medical marijuana] dispensary, owned by Miami-based Modern Health Concepts, plans to open by the end of the month. Academy for Positive Learning’s [charter school] owners are fighting it, including possibly protesting outside the facility once it opens.”

HEMP’s goals are nonviolent; completely educational:

  • Charter schools are too expensive and a family can use the money on funner things.
  • “All my friends go to public school.”
  • Medical marijuana (MM) can help parents better deal with school administration, staff, and grades.
  • MM can help teachers deal with unreasonable deadlines.
  • And MM can help when pondering questions like, “Why am I still teaching in a mobile home after all these years?”
  • What if a child says, “I want to be a part of PBC School Superintendent Robert Avossa’s vision for the future of public schools.” MM can help deal with that too.

Stay tuned as they say for more from HEMP!

*If you didn’t catch on, this is called satire. There is no group called “HEMP”. At least not yet. Will there be protesters outside MHC, a legally-operating medical marijuana dispensary later this month? We’ll have to wait and see. But hopefully there will be counter-protesters there as well in support of a Lake Worth business and medical marijuana.