Lagoon Keepers lift abandoned boat from West Palm Beach Waterfront

Lagoon Keepers lift abandoned boat from West Palm Beach Waterfront

If you’ve been down to the waterfront in the last couple of weeks you will have noticed that one of the boats along that was anchored in the Intracoastal Waterway had begun to take on water and had seemingly been abandoned by it’s owner.

The Lagoon Keepers, a non-profit that is dedicated to the keeping the ICW clean for everyone to enjoy stepped up and through their D.A.V.E program was able to remvoe the vessel from the water.

“Derelict Abandoned Vessel Eradication Initiative” (D.A.V.E.) This program starts with keeping a database on every vessel anchored out in the navigable waters of Palm Beach County Intracoastal Waterway. By having this information we are able to notify the owner of any vessel in time of need for that vessel, i.e. if it breaks loose, takes on water or drags anchor. Thus minimizing damage to the vessel, other property or the environment. We do not tow boats, catch boats or reanchor boats, we notify owners so they can take care of their problem. We try and remove boats while they are still floating. There are only two ways we can remove a vessel from the water, those are by owner permission or Law Enforcement Directive. Each vessel we remove, a plan is made that is tailored to that vessel and the circumstance, i.e. depth of water, condition of the vessel etc. Sometimes it is as simple as waiting for low tide and pumping the vessel out and sometimes we have to hire a barge and crane.

Here are some pictures that the Lagoon Keepers posted on their Facebook Page.

 

Along with the posting the pictures on Facebook, the Lagoon Keepers team answers questions about their work, and the often tricky boat removals.

Jan asks: Are there consequences for abandoning their boat?

Lagoon Keepers answers: The removal cost are applied to their drivers record and they can not register a car or boat until they have paid for the removal. Have yet to recover any cost from owners through the DMV.

 

John asks: How much does it cost to junk a boat

Lagoon Keepers answers: Every vessel is different, floating, sunk, condition and type, how long it has been sunk etc etc etc… , just to junk a boat, the SWA charges $45.00 per ton delivered to them.

 

Kayak to Cleanup

Like what the Lagoon Keepers are doing to keep the Intracoastal clean? You can help by joining their Kayak to Cleanup program & have some fun while you’re at it.

Kayak to Cleanup Program is designed to create an avenue for everyone to enjoy our waters at the same time leaving it a little cleaner place.  One becomes a member and goes kayaking as often as you like and stay out as long as you like ( just be back before the marina you got the kayak from closes). All we ask is when you see trash pick it up! Take pictures of the trash you pickup and email them to trash@LagoonKeepers.org.

Family Membership is $100/year Read more here.

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Commissioner Melissa McKinlay on InsideWPB with Barry O’Brien

On Monday, the 15th of August Barry O’Brien, sat down during his “Inside West Palm Beach” radio show to talk to County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay who represents Palm Beach County District 6.

Commissioner McKinlay with Congresman Murphy and State Senator Clemens (via Campaign Facebook Page)

Commissioner McKinlay with Congresman Murphy and State Senator Clemens (via Campaign Facebook Page)

As residents of West Palm Beach with our own commission and city politics, we don’t often have the opportunity to get insight into the workings of the County, and Barry does a great job of discussing issues that are important to us, and that give us more understanding of our massive county.

While listening to this interview, it’s important to understand that the Palm Beach County commission districts are “Single-Member Districts”. This means that unlike West Palm Beach where every voter votes for every commissioner in the City, in the County only the voters within a district vote on their commissioner. The effect of this is that each commissioner is very tuned into the needs of their constituents, and less so of the issues outside their district. Palm Beach County is 2500 square miles and District 6 is 1692 of that, so it includes the more rural Wellington through Pahokee, and a lot of agriculture lands near Lake Okeechobee, the difference of the needs of the people in District 6 from the needs of the more urban and coastal districts.

Commissioner McKinlay, who is in her first term in office, explained how she got into politics.

“I had an american government teacher in high school who got inside my head and I fell in love with the government and the process. My first election was high school class president and I’ve been doing it ever since. I worked on the staff side for senator bill nelson and have always been behind the scenes. This is my first elected office.”

I look at local government as the highest elected government you can have.

-Commissioner McKinlay

Impact Fees and Downtown West Palm Beach

Early on in the conversation, Barry O’Brien, a very big proponent of public transit, asked Commissioner McKinlay on a very current issue regarding impact fees. Impact fees are paid when developers build new buildings.

The way it works is that new developments are assessed a certain amount, with the theory that if you build a building that requires more county service, then you should have to pay for the impact that you’re making. In the last 11 years over $9 million was collected, but only $6 million was spent (mostly on Okeechobee and Australian BLVD widening and enhancements). The City of West Palm Beach is challenging the County of the use of these funds, due to the fact that downtown West Palm can’t build new roads or widen the roads they have, yet they still have to pay the impact fees. This money could be better used to enhance our very lacking mass transit system.

Commissioner McKinlay pointed out that even people who live downtown still make use of County roads every day. The impact fees are designated specifically for roads, and any changes to utilize this money for better mass transit will take legislative change on the county and state level. She also pointed out that much of the Gas Tax goes to pay for Mass Transit.

In a comment on the radio show’s SoundCloud page, local Walkability Guru and WalkableWPB blogger, Jesse Bailey disagreed with her assessment commented:

“I can tell you as a 10 year downtown resident I very, very rarely go west of I-95. The travel demands and patterns are much different in downtown and the historic neighborhoods compared to the sprawl west of I-95 in unincorporated PBC. Therefore, when developers pay their impact fees, they don’t see the benefits, and instead the money is used to widen and expand roads which those living in traditional, more urban neighborhoods will rarely use.” Jesse Bailey continues ” The money spent from downtown projects doesn’t benefit eastern residents. Why? Because the congestion is caused by regional travel demand from suburban commuters, who clog roads at rush hour. Road expansions don’t help the downtowner going out of downtown ONE IOTA because the roads aren’t congested to begin with. Really specious argument from McKinlay and I’m disappointed to hear it. If we are really about preserving our environment and fighting against Minto West, she needs to realize road expansions are the enabler of these projects.”

The extension of State Road 7

Another timely issue that was discussed was the extension of State Road 7, which runs alongside the City’s water catchment Area, the Grassy Waters Preserves. The City of West Palm Beach fiercely opposes, but Commissioner McKinlay supports.

“I have respect for Mayor Muoio and I agree with her on 99% of the issues, but this one is contentions. This isn’t a county project, so no impact fees will go to it, this is the state of Florida and they have made it one of their priorities. We need State Road 7 and this road has been in the plans since I was a year old. We can work with the state to reduce impact. We can put medians in with trees, and we can restrict it from being a truck route.” The Commissioner continued “The City of West Palm Beach is sueing and trying to block a permit from being issued – if the state of FL is successful in getting a permit from the Water Management District, then regardless of what legal stops the City tries to make then the State can put a shovel in the ground and start building.”

Airboats preparing to survey Grassy Waters Preserve

Airboats preparing to survey Grassy Waters Preserve

Green Algae and Big Agriculture

This enlightening conversation ended with a discussion on the green algae which appeared everywhere between the Intracoastal Waterway, to Lake Okeechobee. A lot of blame was put at the feet of “Big Sugar” and Commissioner McKinlay first stressed that the fact that the water is safe, and there are no concerns about our drinking water, then she addressed the issue with Florida sugar and other farmers directly.

“We can’t push agriculture out of the County – it’s a 3 billion industry. We are the fifth largest agricultural county in the nation. If you want to enjoy your vegetables, and don’t want to buy locally grown produce at the green market and not import everything from mexico then we have to sit down at the table and work together on this.”

US Sugar tractor moving freshly cut sugar cane near Clewiston

US Sugar tractor moving freshly cut sugar cane near Clewiston

A lot more was covered in the interview. Listen to the complete interview between Barry O’Brien and Commissioner McKinlay here.

Collaboration: African Diaspora Exhibition III comes to Northwood

Collaboration: African Diaspora Exhibition III comes to Northwood

I had the opportunity last weekend to get a preview of the brand new Collaboration: African Diaspora Exhibition III which runs from September 3-October 21, 2016. Curated by Anthony & Trina Burks  of A.T.B Fine Artists & Designers LLC a local  22-year art based business who is also responsible for the annual Continuum and other local art events.

img_20160903_115039.jpgAs I walked through the exhibition, the varying of styles of art on display was inspiring. The theme is varied but the artists share a commonality: They are originally from, reside or are represented in the state of Florida in one location here in Palm Beach County and share African descent. The list includes first and second generation Florida Highway men and many more.

Artists include: Addonis Parker, Anthony Burks Sr., Ashley Dias, Barbara Cheives, Carl Craig, Caron Bowman, Cheryl Edwards, Daniel Fortune, David German, Derin Young, Emmanuel Aderele, Everett Spruill, Florida Highwaymen, AJ Brown, Isaac Knight, Roy McLendon Jr., Gillian Kennedy Wright, Greg Pitts, Henrimae Bell, Jacqueline Arrieux, James A. Rush, Jonathan Knight, Julia Polonyi, Kianga Jinaki, Lyndale Pettus, Maria Luisa Pflucker, Nate Dee, Neil McConney, Nzingah, Ore’al Bluntson, Patrick Foucauld , Ramel Jasir, Robert McKnight, Rodney Jackson, Scott Jeffries, Shani Simpson , Thomasina Jackson , Tonya Akins, Tracy Guiteau.

Save the Date & RSVP for all the other events HERE

If you haven’t been to this beautiful Center for Creative Education at 425 24th St.  make sure you take the time to visit it. Originally a roller rink in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Center features an art gallery, classrooms, meeting rooms. The space is used for art instruction, art exhibits, performances, seminars and a base for community activities.

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Opening this Weekend

Saturday, September 10, 2016 | 6-8:30 PM
The Gallery at Center for Creative Education
425 24th St, West Palm Beach, Florida 33407

Suggested $10 Entry (Charitable Donation to CCE’s mission in helping children learn through the arts)
RSVP HERE

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Vote for Jeff Clemens for State Senate 31

Vote for Jeff Clemens for State Senate 31

Correction: I had the election day listed as August 31st. Have updated it to show August 30th.

It’s not often that I talk about politics on this blog. I love the community we have and enjoy taking pictures of and talking about people and events that support our little slice of paradise.

Jeff Clemens has been part of an integral part of our community as the Mayor of Lake Worth, as our Representative to the State House (89) and Senate (27), or as the front man for the “Datura Street Band” which has rocked Clematis by Night on many occasions.

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Jeff Clemens and the Datura Street Band performing at the South End Neighborhood Association Picnic

 

Jeff is an active advocate for our communities and understands the issues that matter to us. One issue that Jeff Clemens has put a huge amount of effort into is working to find solutions for the Sober Home problem which is plaguing neighborhoods all across Florida.

Senator Jeff Clemens is leading the charge on Sober Homes

The sober home problem is a very complex issue, which needs to be fixed at the Federal, State, County and City levels. Over the years Delray Beach and Boca Raton tried to legislate sober homes and keep them from moving into our neighborhoods. Both of these cities were sued by lawyers for the recovery industry, judgments that cost the City of Boca Raton $3 million.

Jeff introduced multiple bills into the State legislature over the years, working across the aisle with Rep. Bill Hagar and in 2015 passing SB21, a bill which required the voluntary registration of sober homes. When in the 2016 legislative session his comprehensive legislation wasn’t passed, Jeff Clemens took it to the Governor’s desk and allocated $275,000 to a 12-person task force, which includes West Palm Beach Commissioner Shanon Materio and 11 non-elected officials. This task force is tasked with “peeling back the onion” on the recovery business and reporting back to Governor Scott on how we can both protect the basic rights of recovering addicts as well as protect our neighborhoods.

Thanks to Jeff Clemens’ work in Tallahassee, the Florida Department of Children and Families, which is tasked with registering sober homes in Florida, was able to assign more resources to this issue and now has nine members working in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

We are just in the beginning stages of understanding the sober home problem as well as the growing epidemic of heroin use which is taking over South Florida. But nobody understands this issue more, and is a better champion for our neighborhoods than Jeff Clemens.

 

As both a House Rep, and a State Senator, Jeff Clemens regularly attends our neighborhood association meetings, and is always available to answer questions or give updates on what’s going on in Tallahassee that will affect us.

Finally, if you need any more convincing that Jeff Clemens is our guy, you may remember him from this classic Daily Show clip (from the good old days with John Stewart) where he was highlighted for calling out Tallahassee on their shenanigans. Worth a watch if you haven’t recently (good part starts three minutes in).

 

 

 

Jeff Clemens has gone to Tallahassee for us, he’s a champion of working families and neighborhoods, he’s kept us informed, he’s rocked his heart out on stage, and he’s even been on the frigging Daily Show… what more do you want? Joking aside, Jeff Clemens has proven himself to be a dedicated public servant in my district and through his work with sober homes has helped everyone in South Florida. Losing Jeff Clemens in the Senate will set this effort back by many years.

Please tell your friends and family that if you live in Senate District 31 I urge you to vote for Jeff Clemens on August 30th. 

VOTE FOR JEFF CLEMENS

Disclaimer: I have volunteered with the Clemens campaign in the past but as of the writing of this article I am not working with the campaign and have not been approached for an endorsement.

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Be Inspired at upcoming Artsy Summer Workshops

Be Inspired at upcoming Artsy Summer Workshops

Looking for something interesting and artsy to do over the next few weeks? While supporting our small businesses in our downtown area? Look no farther. It’s time to be inspired by your inner creative with local workshops. From calligraphy to cupcakes, photography to pottery, food and flowers; these select heartfelt workshops have been designed to explore your innovative artistry and daily life.

We’ve already had two classes, Libby Vision Food Photography & Flower and Fringe floral design, but there are three more exciting events coming up. Then head over to Celis  Produce to enjoy some sips and small bites at the End of Summer bash while meeting local creatives that are influencing our local community.

Earth and Sugar
August 13th at The Studio 1016

Avenue Pottery
August 25th at Uptown Art

Carla Hagan Calligraphy
August 18th at 319 Clematis

End of Summer bash and Artist market
September 1st at Celis Produce

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Come and compete at the Table Tennis Tournament at Hilton West Palm Beach

Come and compete at the Table Tennis Tournament at Hilton West Palm Beach

Continuing to crank out exciting events for locals, our brand new Hilton at the West Palm Beach Convention Center is hosting a Table Tennis championship with Palm Beach table table club. Test your table tennis skills, spectate or enjoy lawn games and competition over corn hole or beer pong. Delicious specials off of #ChristineTheGrill will be served. No cover charge to attend.

Fun for the whole family!

  • There will be two rounds based upon your experience with table tennis aka ping pong
  • $20 entry fee to play
  • Player check in is 5:30-5:45pm. Games will begin promptly at 6pm.
  • Prizes include two night stay plus $50 gift certificate to Galley, complimentary memberships and lessons to the Palm Beach Table Tennis Association

We’re ready to see those challengers! Sign up to play or RSVP to here. If you have a challenger/friend in mind, please feel free to email us this request to prwpb@hilton.com so we can pair you accordingly.

You can also RSVP on the Facebook Event.

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