Haverhill Road north of Gun Club Road to close for 9 weeks

Haverhill Road between Gun Club Road and Southern Boulevard will close for nine weeks for replacement of sanitary sewer lines, starting Saturday at 8 a.m.

The road is scheduled to reopen Aug. 11.

Southbound traffic will detour at Southern Boulevard (SR 80/US 98) east to Military Trail, south to Gun Club Road, then west to Haverhill Road.

Northbound traffic will detour at Gun Club Road east to Military Trail, north to Southern, then west to Haverhill.

On Gun Club Road, travel will be reduced to a single lane eastbound and westbound.

Local residential traffic between Cheryl Lane and Canal Road will have access on Haverhill Road to and from Southern Boulevard.

 

How women, minority and small-business owners can win West Palm Beach contracts

Frank Hayden, West Palm Beach, Director of Procurement, encourages small businesses to apply for city contracts.

 

The city is inviting small business owners, including minorities and women, to a program on how to benefit from the city’s 1 percent sales tax increase.

Frank Hayden, the City’s Director of Procurement, is hosting a free workshop from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, at the Pleasant City Recreation Center, 501 21st St.

He will explain updated programs created to encourage more engagement among small, minority- and female-owned businesses and the city’s streamlined processes for businesses to get certified.

Hayden will be joined by Mark Parks, West Palm’s CFO, who will outline the city’s funding sources for new contracts; Kevin Volbrecht, director of Engineering Services, and Susan Burglund, Engineering Services project manager, who will talk about engineering opportunities with the City’s Comprehensive Improvement Plan Project; and Poonam Kalkat, director of Public Utilities, who will provide details on water and wastewater projects. Guests can talk to city representatives one-on-one, following the presentations.

“The City has its funding in place now, including funds generated from the 1 percent sales tax, and projects ready for bid,” Hayden said. “We are excited to share the most recent details of our upcoming projects.

A recent Disparity Study showed a need for greater inclusion among women-owned and minority-owned businesses on certain types of work available from the city.

In 2016, the Procurement Department introduced new programs to help small business enterprises be more competitive in the city’s bid process.  Hayden has set a goal to increase the number of small businesses certified by the City by 5 percent annually and to increase the number of dollars spent with certified businesses by 5 percent annually.

“We’ve streamlined the paperwork to make it simpler and less time-intensive,” Hayden said.

To learn more about West Palm Beach procurement opportunities in the areas of goods and services, construction and professional services, visit www.wpb.org/procurement or call 561-822-2100.

Festival del Mar at science museum June 17

Festival del Mar, on June 17, starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at the South Florida Science Center. (contributed)

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, in partnership with the Caritas Smile Charity, invites locals to splash into sea science during the third annual Festival del Mar on Saturday, June 17.

The event aims to engage the local Latin American community and promote ocean conservation and education worldwide. The day will include cultural performances, arts and crafts, family Zumba, bilingual planetarium shows and a story time.

Festival del Mar also aims to encourage Latin Americans to pursue a career in a science field.

“Statistics show Latinos are significantly less likely to earn a degree in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields, compared to their Caucasian peers,” said Lew Crampton, museum president and CEO.

Caritas Smile surprises children in need with gifts at hospitals, schools and orphanages as well as offering service mission trips to Dominican Republic and Nicaragua for university students and volunteers called Take a Trip Change a Life. The charity empowers, educates and provides programming to communities around the globe.

Festival del Mar starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at the South Florida Science Center, 4801 Dreher Trail N. Admission is $15 for non-member adults and free for children under 12 and Science Center members. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Admission includes access to the latest traveling exhibit, Amazing Butterflies.

Why didn’t I invent this?

Seen on Miami International Airport’s Skytrain: a triple hand-hold bar, so more people can hold on without crowding or awkwardly overlapping hands.

If they’d thought to put in seats, they wouldn’t need the bar, but in oft-crowded confines like airports, it makes perfect sense.

Congrats to whomever came up with this why-didn’t-I-think-of-that idea.

PalmTran? Tri-Rail? Trolley transporters? What say you?

 

 

Young Marines of Palm Beaches lead D.C. Memorial Day march

From left, YM Sgt. Austin Sanders, PFC. Andrew Rodriguez, LCPL, Jordan Miller and LCPL Kazan Garcia, all from the Palm Beaches, march during the Memorial Parade 2017 in Washington, D.C. on May 29. (Oliver Contreras)

(Item contributed by Young Marines of Palm Beaches)

Four youth members from the Young Marines of Palm Beaches carried the lead banner of the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C. Monday.

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The organization promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members and focuses on teaching leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines’ beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to 275 units with 9,200 youth and 2,760 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Okinawa with affiliates in other countries.

For information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.

 

Minority opinion: Commissioner says hold off on building on key site until downtown traffic is addressed

The most prominent downtown parcel owned by the city, the Tent Site, has been offered up for development proposals again, despite the fact that it’s ground zero for West Palm’s burgeoning traffic problems.

On May 8, the city commissioners, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, voted 4-1 to ask staff to draft a request for development proposals for the site, at the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and South Dixie Highway.

Those voting in the majority said that, with a consultant’s traffic study under way and a favorable real estate cycle in progress, they should not wait to solve the congestion problem before getting the ball rolling on a development play for the high-visibility site. The site, on a major gateway to downtown, has been vacant for years, as the city and developers fumbled one proposed project after another.

We received the following letter May 29 from the one opponent to the request for proposals, City Commissioner Paula Ryan. What are your thoughts?

 

Letter to the Editor of the Palm Beach Post

May 29, 2017

 

On Monday May 22nd there was a “Summit” held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center organized in large part by my fellow City Commissioner, Shanon Materio.  (Palm Beach Post 5/23/17 “Leaders Seeking a Better Boulevard”).  The intent of the summit was to bring together stakeholders to discuss the problems drivers of vehicles and cyclists as well as pedestrians face on Okeechobee Boulevard every day between the CSX Railroad tracks and the Middle bridge to Palm Beach. (“Road Segment”)  It is clear to even the casual observer that this Road Segment has become and will continue to become more congested and more dangerous unless the City takes action to address the many and complicated issues.

 

The City, prior to and during the recession, provided significant traffic generating entitlements to the properties located along this Road Segment, including the City owned “Tent Site”.  All entitlements are allowed within the City’s Downtown Master Plan.

 

There are now over 7000 residents living in our downtown, and as our City grows we are seeing and feeling the pressure on all the stakeholders.  It is the responsibility of the City to manage growth and the impacts of growth, particularly traffic and bicyclist and pedestrian safety.  We, along with the County and the State, must use our resources to formulate the best strategies to make the Road Segment functional and safe for residents and non-residents of the City, including our many seasonal visitors.  This may include roadway reconfigurations, improved signage, and better turning movements to improve safety and traffic congestion.  This will require coordination among the City, County and the State, as well as private property owners and other stakeholders including residents and business owners.

 

The City has commissioned a “Mobility Study” of which a major component is a study of the Road Segment in recognition of the problems begging for solutions.  It is critical that the City keep the City owned Tent Site (2.4 acres centered between Okeechobee Boulevard and Lakeview Avenue on the west side of Dixie Highway) unencumbered and free of contractual entanglements.  This is necessary for the authors of the Mobility Study, the City, County and State and all other stakeholders.   The solutions must include all of the possibilities to solve problems that all stakeholders admit exist.

 

I, along with many stakeholders, was dismayed and confused when the CRA and my fellow Commissioners, including Commissioner Materio, voted to proceed with a “Request for Qualifications  Proposal” (RFQ”) from prospective developers for the development of the Tent Site.  This decision is more than counter intuitive; any development of the Tent Site will only exacerbate the problems.  The City must look at the benefits of reducing some of the entitlements of its own property, as a way to mitigate many of the safety concerns.. This decision also creates doubt and confusion over the availability of the site to be a major component of solutions to problems that have been identified and acknowledged by everyone.  The Mobility Study Consultants, City Staff, the County, State and other stakeholders need a clear and consistent message that the City is willing to use all or large portions of the Tent Site to solve our problems.

 

I will continue to share a clear and consistent message by opposing any legislative action that would lead to an RFQ or other legislative action to put the Tent Site in play, specifically prior to a recommendation from the professional team working, in conjunction with all stakeholders, on a Mobility Plan.

Paula Ryan

West Palm Beach

District 3 City Commissioner

SunTrust bank in West Palm Beach closes

The SunTrust bank branch at the corner of South Dixie and Belvedere has closed.

Movers were hauling away the loan officers’ desks, pens on chains and other furnishings Wednesday. No bundles of money in sight, though.

Where the ATM once dispensed cash was now just a gaping hole in the exterior wall, near the front entry.

 

‘Point A to Point B’ traffic forum set for Monday

(Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shanon Materio, Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard and Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio are hosting “Getting from Point A to Point B,” a public forum Monday, May 22, to address growing public concerns about traffic.

The event starts 8:30 a.m. at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Attendees are encouraged to preregister.

The forum seeks to identify factors contributing to traffic in West Palm and the town with a collaborative, solution-based approach. The interactive discussions will include pedestrian safety, factors contributing to the growing traffic congestion and future development. The Florida Department of Transportation will join the workshop, as will the county’s engineer.

Many agencies are involved in West Palm’s traffic issue, from the state, which controls Okeechobee Boulevard, to the city which controls the lights, and roads north and south, the town, which needs access through the bridges, to the Coast Guard, which controls bridge openings, Materio said Wednesday. Then there are the trains, whose crossings affect traffic many times a day — and more, when Brightline service begins.

 

“We’re showing we can work in a collaborative effort and we’re encouraging community to be active participants, she said.

West Palm has hired a consult to undertake a mobility study of Okeechobee Boulevard and downtown, also to seek solutions in light of continuing development. The results of that study are due out later this year.

“The mobility study is just part of this and that’s just one piece,” Materio added. “There’s no one silver bullet.”

 

“As a community, we have seen an increase in traffic and congestion that desperately needs to be addressed,” Coniglio said. “Getting from Point A to Point B is about identifying and addressing the issues that are clearly impacting all of the surrounding communities as well as finding long-term solutions.”

“Traffic issues have been a rising problem along the Okeechobee corridor,” Bernard said. “The city can’t function during rush hour when a bridge goes up or a train goes by. There has been a growing voice from the public asking for local officials to take action to improve the traffic situation in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. The county is proud to participate in what we hope will be a fruitful discussion resulting in realistic solutions to the complex traffic problems that plague our community.”

The public is encouraged to preregister for Monday’s event by visiting http://www.PBCtraffic.com. Attendees can also submit questions and concerns to be addressed during the workshop.

Local artists named for West Palm’s Aesop’s Tables outdoor art exhibition

Art by Tiffani Beasi.

West Palm Beach will display 25 picnic tables painted by local artists, depicting colorful and distinctive interpretations of Aesop’s Fables, as part of the city’s annual Summer in Paradise promotion on the waterfront.

The art exhibition, Aesop’s Tables, will introduce the talents of 19 local artists, based on such themes as The Lion and the Mouse, Tortoise and the Hare.

The following artists won a competition to bring Aesop’s Tables to life:

 Steve Brouse, West Palm Beach; Mayling Pao, West Palm Beach; Candice Carpentieri, Wellington; Tiffany Beasi, West Palm Beach; Anthony Burks, West Palm Beach; Jason Fleurant, West Palm Beach; Patricia Maldonado, West Palm Beach;  Frank Navarrete, Loxahatchee;  Agata Ren, Boca Raton; Craig McInnis, West Palm Beach; Erick Marquez, West Palm Beach;  Peggie Batia Lowenberg, Boca Raton; Nicole Galluccio, Lake Worth; Sharon Halupka White, Delray Beach; Karla Smith, Boca Raton; Sylvain Copon, West Palm Beach; Holly Rutchey, West Palm Beach; Missy Pierce, Boca Raton; and Sharon Gail Koskoff, Delray Beach.

(Two of the artists are giving free classes this summer at the Mandel Public Library downtown, 411 Clematis St. Anthony Burks is teaching Colored Pencil Art, on Thursday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to noon, in the library’s Clematis Room. Miniature Art with artist Missy Pierce is on Wednesday, July 26, from 6 to 8 p.m.)

For more information about Aesop’s Tables and Summer in Paradise, visit wpb.org/events. To watch the artists paint, stop by the West Palm Beach waterfront from May 23 through May 25, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Fun science” ..Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge

Ray Waldner fights a jack crevalle on ultralight tackle near Munyon Island. Fishing the northern end of Lake Worth Lagoon in the winter can produce snook, redfish, jack crevalle, ladyfish and, on the incoming tide, Spanish mackerel and bluefish. (Photo by Willie Howard)

This, from Palm Beach County: 

To collect fisheries information about the county’s largest estuary, Palm Beach County and its partners in the Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative will hold the second annual Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge, from May 26 through July 9. The initiative is collaborating with the Snook & Gamefish Foundation and the West Palm Beach Fishing Club to host the challenge as a fun citizen science contest.

Participating is easy and free. Interested anglers can register online, then log the fish they catch using a free downloadable app for their mobile device or by signing into their online account. By taking photos of their catches in the lagoon and reporting them as part of the challenge, anglers will contribute valuable data that could steer future lagoon habitat restoration and will be eligible for awards.

“It was so exciting to see a number of kids participating in this event last year and seeing parents utilizing this opportunity to get their families outdoors,” said Rob Robbins, director of Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM). “By sharing details about the fish being caught in the lagoon, participants will help us better understand this local treasure that we are working hard to protect, restore and enhance.”

Approximately 20 miles long and a half-mile wide, Lake Worth Lagoon extends from North Palm Beach to Ocean Ridge. The estuary is home to a variety of fish species and offers many fishing spots accessible from land or by boat.

 

The Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge is open to anglers five years of age and older. Entries can be submitted throughout the six-week challenge. For more information about the challenge, including how to register and prize details, visit www.LWLI.org/FishingChallenge or contact ERM at (561)233-2400 or at ERM-FishingChallenge@pbcgov.org.