Water plant tractor sends 340-foot radio tower to ground

 

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A 340-foot tall radio tower at the city water plant crashed to the ground at 9:36 a.m. Monday after a worker’s tractor clipped one of its support cables.

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Guy wire down

Two trucks parked at the Banyan Boulevard plant were crushed but no one was injured and city emergency communications were not interrupted, city officials said.

The tractor was moving sludge from one part of the water treatment plant to another when it hit the guy wires, sending the antenna to the ground in a twisted heap of metal latticework.

Pickup kaput
Pickup kaput

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The 30-year-old tower, which was about to be decommissioned, was used to remotely monitor and control sewer lift stations and other water system pumps around the city.

A new, free-standing replacement tower next to it was undamaged and it took two hours to reprogram computers to reroute the monitoring capabilities through it, Deputy City Administrator Dorritt Miller said. Meanwhile, city workers traveled to inspect lift stations, she said.

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Seemed like a good parking spot at the time

Neither sewer operations nor police and fire communication — the main reason the new tower was completed in July — were affected, Miller said.

The new tower, also 340-feet-tall, one of three around the city, stands barely 10 feet from the base of the one that came crashing down.

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Checking base of the fallen radio tower

Silvio Espinoza, a telecommunications technician for the city, said he had just finished testing the old tower’s monitoring system when he got a call from a dispatcher saying the system wasn’t working.

He didn’t believe it. “I’m saying, ‘check your battery.'” Then all the alarms went off, he said.

Miller said the crumpled tower would be dismantled and carted away.

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Telecom Tech Silvio Espinoza

Youth flag football registration opens

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Registration opens Nov. 7 for the city’s Youth Flag Football program, for ages 5 – 14.

The program runs from January through April 8. 

Youth Flag Football is held at Coleman, Gaines and Howard parks on weeknights and Saturday mornings, based on the availability of each coach. Fees are $50 for residents and $65 for non-residents.

Register your child on line at www.wpb.org/parks or in person at the community center of your choice.  Register early to reserve your space.  Registration closes January 13.  Proof of residency is required at the time of registration.  Fee assistance and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

For more information, call the City of West Palm Beach Department of Parks and Recreation at 561-804-4900 for follow us on Facebook and Twitter (Facebook.com/WPBparks and Twitter.com/WPBparks).

Skating Florida-style for winter break

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Looking for something for the kids to do for winter break? West Palm Beach’s parks and rec department is hosting Winter Break Skate Camp, kids ages 6-15, at Phipps Skate Park, 4715 S. Dixie Highway.
Qualified skateboard instructors will help participants acquire new skills or improve old ones.  Skaters will be assessed on the first day and grouped by ability level.  Bring  skateboard and helmet, water and a snack daily.  
There will be two sessions. Session 1 will be held Tuesday to Friday, Dec. 27 to 30. Session 2 will be Tuesday to Friday, Jan. 3 to 6,  9 a.m. to noon.

The cost is 50 for the session or $12 daily for residents ($65 for the session or $15 daily for non-residents).  Proof of residency is required.  Space is limited so register early.
For more information about Phipps Park skating programs, call the City of West Palm Beach Department of Parks and Recreation at 561-835-7170 or follow on Facebook and Twitter (Facebook.com/WPBparks and Twitter.com/WPBparks).

Museum event: It’s not drinking — it’s science!

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This release, from the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium:

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and BarWars LLC are hosting MolecuBar on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Explore the flavor profiles and chemical reactions behind your favorite cocktails:

  • View interactive mixology demos.
  • Sample bites with local flair.
  • Kahlua Karaoke in the Planetarium, raffles, bar tricks and more.

Advance tickets: $20 general admission, $45 VIP.

At the door: $25 general admission, $50 VIP.

Click HERE to purchase general admission. Click HERE to purchase VIP.

VIP includes an interactive mixology workshop with BarWars L.L.C. and VIP exclusive goody bag.

For questions, email events@sfsciencecenter.org or call 561-370-7740

The wow factor: geometric mural set for convention hotel exterior

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Murals by Greg Astro

Hilton West Palm Beach has invited international artist Greg Astro to paint an abstract mural on the convention center hotel, in conjunction with November’s Canvas Outdoor Museum Show.

To get a sense of what’s to come, check out these murals Astro has painted elsewhere around the world.

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Vortex

Starting Nov. 11, CANVAS is bringing top local and international artists to transform building sides and waterfront parks with murals, outdoor sculptures and a range of interactive art.

To kick off the festival, the Hilton West Palm Beach is hosting Sip & Stir, a meet-and-greet cocktail party on Nov. 12, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Galley, the hotel’s nautical-themed bar and restaurant. The event is open for the public to meet the artists. Galley will serve a themed art-inspired cocktail during the evening.

The Astro work, on the east side of the hotel, will be the southern-most piece in the show.

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Astro, whose work has been displayed in France, Portugal and California, is known for abstract murals that combine curves, dynamic calligraphy and shapes.  His West Palm Beach mural will remain through 2017.

Astro also will collaborate with South Florida youth organizations including Place of Hope, The Urban Youth League and Boys and Girls Club on CANVAS Kids Day, Nov. 13 at the hotel, where youth participants will help create a visual masterpiece.

 

 

 

 

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Fern, Gardenia streets to close at tracks

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Gardenia and Fern streets will close at the FEC railroad tracks for four days, for drainage work, starting Tuesday, Nov. 1.

With Gardenia closed, use Hibiscus Street for local access to CityPlace.
Fern Street will have a partial closure, which will allow two-way access but motorists are asked to proceed with caution through the multiple work zones on Fern.

Manatee Month…be alert

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It’s Manatee Awareness Month and the public can obtain free waterway signage, boating banners and decals, waterway cards, and educational posters to boost awareness.

The shoreline property signs warn boaters to slow down for manatees and feature the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s hotline number (1-888-404-3922) to report sick, injured, and orphaned manatees.  The Club also produces outdoor signs for state, municipal, and county parks, marinas, and other sites where human/manatee interactions are a problem.

To obtain any of these free materials, you can email education@savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646) and request these resources.  Educators can also request a free educator’s guide filled with classroom activities and interesting manatee facts.

Save the Manatee Club encourages the public to watch manatees in their natural habitat on the Club’s webcams at ManaTV.org.

Some interchanges through West Palm area to see work in coming years | Map

As part of a long-range plan to improve traffic flow along Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County, the state aims to make changes at nearly every interchange along the stretch.

What does that mean for you? Over the next 20 years, I-95 through West Palm Beach will begin to look a bit different.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Here’s the list of central Palm Beach County projects planned by the Florida Department of Transportation. Click here for the full list throughout Palm Beach County.

Southern Boulevard: Alternatives in this study would build either one or two flyovers at the interchange; add bike lanes; widen the I-95 ramps not affected by the possible flyovers; and possibly shift traffic flow on Southern to the west of the interchange. Timeline: Final design could be ready in 2021, with construction starting in 2024.

Estimated total cost: $88 million. FDOT project website

45th Street: Alternatives in this study would add lanes to the interchange. Timeline: Study completed in March 2018.

No estimated cost at this time. FDOT project website

Northlake Boulevard: A study is being conducted on this interchange. Plans are to add left turn lanes to the northbound and southbound I-95 off-ramps; widen the northbound I-95 on-ramp; add a second westbound left-turn lane at Northlake and Keating Drive; widen Northlake from Military Trail to MacArthur Boulevard; add an eastbound left-turn lane at Northlake and Sunrise/Sandtree Drive; and possibly add lighting. Timeline: Study complete next summer; project out for bids in March 2024. Estimated total cost: $74.3 million. FDOT project website

 

Trump ‘drops in’ on early voters in West Palm Beach

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Early voters coming in, going out, at the Supervisor of Elections offices at Military Trail near Southern Boulevard. (Tony Doris / The Palm Beach Post)

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump dropped in on early voters Monday morning at the county’s elections headquarters on Military Trail. In a manner of speaking. They saw his plane come in for a landing nearby at Palm Beach International Airport around 9:30 a.m. Kind of hard to miss the guy’s name spelled out in yuuuuge letters on the fusilage.

The first day of voting was going smoothly, with the line only about 10 deep.

“Do not go past the ‘Date of Birth’ line,” a poll worker instructed voter after voter on filling out the form for ballots. “Turn off cell phones.”

Between the time I set foot on line, checked in and voted, the whole process took 14 minutes.

The longer wait took place after exiting and driving onto Southern Boulevard, which instantly clogged with traffic, presumably to let the candidate and his security entourage through. Police and sheriff’s cruisers were visible from the airport all the way to South Dixie Highway.

 

West Palm to add curfew hours for minors at Moonfest

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How curfew violators will be dispatched.

With Moonfest coming up this weekend, Mayor Jeri Muoio is issuing an executive order to ban anyone under 18 years of age from downtown from 9 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday.

The city curfew normally starts at 11 p.m. but the mayor’s order starts it two hours early during the festival, where alcohol is sold. The Police Department expects more than 30,000 people will attend, Moonfest, based on past years.

“Increasing restricted hours for minors during Moonfest will assist in promoting the
health, safety and general welfare of minors and will further allow the Police Department to focus its attention on the health, safety and welfare of the Moonfest participants and business patrons both at the event and in the surrounding downtown area beginning at an earlier hour,” according to Monday’s city commission agenda.

In addition, the city commission voted unanimously Monday to drop the regular curfew to 10 p.m. seven days a week rather than 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night. This will be in place as a pilot program for the next few months.